'Absolutely heart-breaking' - Older Kiwis warned to watch out for Valentine's Day online dating scams

Valentine's Day is thought of as the most romantic day of the year, but with the number of online romance scams on the rise that isn't the case for everybody.

The scams happen a lot because more and more Kiwis are looking for love on dating sites and apps.

Retirement Commissioner Diane Maxwell has called the scams, which costs Kiwis an estimated $1.4 million last year, "absolutely heart-breaking".

"Because we are living longer we are looking for love later, so older New Zealanders who might go on dating websites put to much information on and then they're falling victim to these scams," Ms Maxwell said.

She says the common story is that once connecting with someone online and "buttering them up" for a time, the victim is then asked to send their new significant other money.

Ms Maxwell's advice is for people to talk about any concerns they might have.

"People don't talk about this stuff because they're embarrassed and ashamed, but these people are organisations of hundreds of people who work on these scams for months.

"So people shouldn't feel ashamed for falling for it," she said.

The Government's Commission for Financial Capability reports 12 per cent of all frauds and scams are related to romance.

Netsafe estimates in 2017 romance scams cost Kiwis more than $1.4 million. Source: Seven Sharp


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Watch: Amazing new images of orcas emerge from Antarctica's 'Whale Highway'

Spectacular new pictures of killer whales have emerged from Antarctica, as a group of scientists from the University of Canterbury return home from the frozen continent.

The orcas put on a show for the cameras as they made their way south along what's known as the "Whale Highway" in the Ross Sea.

"It's their home, they're wondering what we're doing and within ten minutes they started showing up and checking what we're doing," Dr Regina Eisert from the University of Canterbury told 1 NEWS.

The team has set up underwater acoustic recorders and time-lapse cameras, with the data allowing scientists to trace the orcas' movements and match their sounds to identify individuals.

"We know nothing about them basically. We don't know how many there are and we don't know how they'd be affected by fishing," Dr Eisert said.

Skin samples are also being taken to analyse the killer whale's diet and DNA.

The study also hopes to help maintain the protected status of the Ross Sea region.

Canterbury University scientists are back home after a month on the ice. Source: 1 NEWS

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NZ pledges further $1.5 million to Pacific Islands Cyclone Gita relief

Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters says New Zealand will contribute a further $1.5 million to help with the emergency response and early recovery efforts in the wake of Tropical Cyclone Gita.

The money is on top of the $750,000 that the Government has already contributed to the relief efforts.

"This additional funding will be directed to Tonga, Samoa and Fiji which have all felt the impact of the cyclone," said Mr Peters.

The storm also pounded Fiji's southernmost islands. Source: 1 NEWS

"A picture of the extent of damage caused by Cyclone Gita is emerging and it is clear a big response and clean-up job lies ahead. We are here to help our neighbours get through this," he said.

This latest funding will be used to replenish New Zealand Red Cross relief supplies in Tonga and provide up to $750,000 for New Zealand NGOs to deliver ongoing emergency relief and early recovery activities in Samoa and Tonga.

Today's announcement brings the total funding allocated for the New Zealand response to Tropical Cyclone Gita to $2,250,000.

Jane Foster said Oxfam is still waiting for contact to be re-established with two of Fiji's southern Lau islands, after the edge of Gita brushed them yesterday. Source: Breakfast