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If you’re suspicious, turn to Google: search their name and “dating scam” or do a Google image search to see whether they’ve taken someone else’s picture or one that’s easily available online.If you find the picture is a fake, report the profile to the dating site immediately.

By analysing the top 3,000 scammer profiles (that is, those they’ve come across most frequently in profiles blocked by their software in the last year) they’ve discovered what constitutes the ‘most attractive’ female and male propositions to those targeted by romance scammers.The male profile is in his late 40s (48 is the most common age) with a high income.And a lot of the time, you’re not just talking to one person behind each profile - you could be exchanging messages with a circle of fraudsters acting together, according to KIS Finance.Serious fraudsters sometimes even create further fake profiles and use them to be rude to you, all to make the main fake profile seem more desirable.In my personal experience, providing a credit card made my experience worse!!

The calibre of men I met on dating sites overall was that they were looking for “fun” and not commitment. Lavalife was free when I used it but now I think you have to pay to message but flirts are free. Newer ones like bumble and tinder I am not familiar with but I did try badoo for a short time and that seemed ok.

Jane*, a middle-aged woman from Warwickshire, had a lucky escape a few years ago when she very nearly handed over a sizeable sum of money to an online scammer who did in fact claim to be an engineer.

Her interest was initially piqued when he seemed to have a similar background and heritage to her and they chatted for almost two months, often exchanging messages for at least two hours an evening.

One of the most common techniques is to build up trust with the person by messaging for weeks or even months before suddenly having an emergency - the fake person being mugged but their daughter needing urgent surgery, for example - and asking for money.

But then they suddenly need money for rent too, then food, then medical fees, and it can quickly escalate.

“I just couldn’t believe that was what he was saying,” Jane told .