Police warn of Valentine's Day online dating scams

Police are urging people to watch out for Valentine's Day scammers.
Police are urging people to watch out for Valentine's Day scammers. Photo credit: Getty Images

Police are sending out a Valentine's Day warning, urging people not to become victim to scammers.

Detective Superintendent Iain Chapman said it is estimated New Zealanders lose tens of millions of dollars each year to love scams, especially online.

He said anyone can fall prey to a scammer and it is far more common than people think.

"Many people who have been scammed are too ashamed to make a complaint, as they may feel embarrassed or silly about getting 'taken in'," Chapman said in a statement.

He said some of the red flags to be aware of include:

  • People who always have excuses about why they cannot meet you in person or even via a video call
  • Those who are often in a hard to reach place (eg working on oil rigs, in the military, working overseas)
  • People who seem to always have a sob story (eg a child or family member is sick), and there is always a degree of urgency.

Many of the scams are grossly under-reported and Chapman said it is important to report such scams as "there's no shame" in letting police know.

"It's important that we can get as much information about these scams and those running them as possible, so we can prevent this type of thing from happening to more people and hold those responsible to account wherever possible," he said.

If you believe you are the victim of a scam you can contact police and report the matter via 105, he said.