Victims are unaware that they are communicating with an entirely different person to the one in the picture on the website.
In some cases, many members of a criminal gang may be alternately sending messages to a victim behind the spurious guise of a single internet dating profile.
Conmen can easily buy "scam packs" to help them trick would-be daters into their scam.
The pack is available online and only costs a few dollars.
That can involve fake social media profiles as well as those on dating sites or apps.
Some red flags to watch for include someone professing their love before meeting in person, or claiming to be from the same town but working overseas, which may be a set-up to ask for money later, the force said.
They use many different kinds of excuses and reasons why they need money. More women than men were scammed, with 61 per cent of the victims being female.
The police force in London reported 3,900 people being scammed online in 2016. A senior police officer described the damage the scams do to victims.
People can pretend to be someone or something they are not and it can be very difficult to see who is for real and who is not.“We’ve all fallen in love, we know the high when we think we’ve found the person that we’ve been looking for, and from there we can become very vulnerable.”Many are reluctant to report the crime, out of embarrassment or — in the case of older people — out of fear that they will lose independence as concerned family members step in, he said.Scammers create fake online profiles in order to gain someone’s trust then ask for money, often claiming to be faced with an emergency, RCMP said.There is a new scam on the Internet for those looking for love.Criminals are trying to trick people by using old love letters and romantic language.