The stories they give are along the lines of working over seas, usually in some high paying job like gas and oil. They will try to get your personal information such as address and start sending their victims gifts. They will claim it is from someone who works for them and is still living in the United States or United Kingdom.
In reality these gifts are coming from someone else who is also being scammed by a fake profile.
They are innocent people that most likely don't know they are being used by scammers.
The user selects they type of profile they wish to create and within seconds they are ready to start mingling online with their fake profile.
There are many reasons why someone would create a profile that was not legitimate.
POF seems to be one of the better sites at monitoring for fake profiles and they usually do not last that long if they are created. Sometimes you find the same image on multiple sites with different profiles. If you are a bit more serious, you can use spokeo to find out information on an email address, name and phone number.
But you need to be smart when online dating to avoid being scammed. Look for things like broken English or inconsistencies. Talking about how they are God fearing, want to get married and so on. If you are chatting with them, keep note of inconsistencies. See below: people search by Spokeo DISCLAIMER NOTICE This website is not affiliated, associated, authorized, sponsored, endorsed by, or in any way officially connected with Plenty of Fish/POF or any of its subsidiaries or its affiliates.
Other targets for dating scams and fake profiles are late middle aged women.