'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