PEOPLE seeking love online this Valentine's Day have been warned about the risks of romance scams.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission report released yesterday showed $28 million was lost and 1032 people were ripped off by such scams last year.
Of those, 81 people also reported losing more than $100,000 to romance scams, often run through online dating websites.
ACCC deputy chairwoman Delia Rickard said websites were often used by scammers and they could spend "months and even years" grooming victims and "lowering their defences".
"Inevitably, the fraudster will spin a tall tale about why they suddenly need your financial help, ranging from medical emergencies to failed business ventures," she said.
The report came as a survey of users of website Ashleymadison.com showed it had a 161% rise in new women joining the day after Valentine's Day on average over the past three years.
That survey also showed a 51% rise in messaging on the website in the five days before the romantic day.