Online dating scams are on the rise in South Australia, where police are dealing with victims on a daily basis.
Police say internet scams come in waves, but the latest surge has them warning people to think carefully about parting with money for potential suitors.
Detective Inspector Greg Hutchins says dating and romance scammers tend to stick to the same tactics, lowering the defences of their targets by appealing to their romantic or compassionate side.
The latest scams are a just a variation on a theme, he said, aimed at getting money, gifts or personal details.
In one case a 48-year-old woman lost almost $500,000 over two years after communicating with a man through Skype in 2011.
She gave her suitor $80,000 and then paid more than $400,000 more when a bogus "lawyer" contacted her, suggesting he could help her recover her initial funds.
"Unfortunately, for victims of scams like this, there is very little prospect of recouping any of the money because the difficulties in tracing offenders and jurisdictional issues limit how much Australian police can do," Insp Hutchins said.
Police say all unsolicited offers should be treated with caution and if people believe they have fallen victim to a scam they should cease all contact immediately.