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And be wary if someone online, after just a few contacts, professes strong feelings for you and asks to chat with you privately.

We'd advise you never to send money to anyone you meet through an online dating website no matter how convincing they appear to be.

And you certainly shouldn't wire money to anybody as there is no audit trail.

Scammers typically create fake online profiles designed to lure you in, either using a fictional name or falsely adopting the identities of real people.

Dating and romance scammers will express strong emotions for you in a relatively short period of time, and usually suggest you move the relationship away from the website to a more private channel, such as phone, email or instant messaging.

Scammers will go to great lengths to gain your interest and trust such as showering you with loving words, sharing apparent personal information and sometimes even sending you gifts.

They may take several months to build what may feel like the romance of a lifetime and can even pretend to book flights to visit you - but they never actually arrive.

Once they have gained your trust and your defences are down, they will ask you, either subtly or directly, for money, gifts or your banking or credit card details.

Often scammers will pretend they need the money for some sort of personal emergency or insist they need the money to travel to visit you.

Check to make sure the profile picture looks realistic. Look for amateur photos - and check for more than one. member recommended using to check the legitimacy of profile pictures on dating websites.

This website allows you to upload photographs and uses recognition technology to see if there are matches to the photo anywhere else on the internet.

Check that the profile on the dating website is consistent with what you've been told.

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