With Valentine's Day less than a week away, Consumer Protection has issued a warning to Western Australians looking for love to beware of scammers.
In 2021, 85 people reported losing almost $3 million to dating and romance scams, an increase from 72 victims the previous year, losing a total of $2.2 million dollars.
When it comes to love it is important to listen to your head as well as your heart.- Gary Newcombe, Commissioner for Consumer Protection
Nationally, Australians lost $56 million in 2021 which was up 44 per cent from 2020.
Would-be scammers are now using a broader range of digital platforms to target victims, including social networks, dating sites and instant-messaging apps.
Commissioner for Consumer Protection Gary Newcombe said there were a number of steps people could take to protect themselves against scammers.
"Our scam prevention tips include doing some online checks such as a reverse image search to find out if the profile photo of their romantic interest is legitimate," Mr Newcombe said.
"Consumers seeking a romantic partner are encouraged to communicate within the dating app and be wary of people who seek to immediately move the online conversation to a one-on-one conversation through texts, email or Whatsapp.
"Look for red flags when the online love interest makes up excuses for not being able to carry out simple requests or starts asking for money for investments, medical treatment, travel costs to visit or other reasons that are designed to pull at the heartstrings.
"Always report suspicious people as dating apps can remove the profile of those reported to be a potential scammer.
"This will benefit others on the dating app who are also in contact with that person."
Mr Newcombe said people should never transfer money to, or share bank account details with, someone they have not yet met in person.
"When it comes to love it is important to listen to your head as well as your heart," he said.
Enquiries can be made by calling 1300 30 40 54.