In order to release it they claim they have to pay a customs release fee – which is then requested from the victim." Online dating scams are nothing new, but they are on the rise.
From April 2013 to March 2014, there were 2,037 cases of dating scams reported to Action Fraud, with the 651 scams over the summer marking an acceleration.
• Never send money or give credit card or online account details to anyone you don’t know and trust.
Ms Parke realised her mistake when Mr Cole failed to arrive at Birmingham airport where they had agreed to meet so that he could go to the bank with her and return her money.
"With great hindsight, I am fully aware of how utterly stupid I have been," said Ms Parke, "and I appreciate that there is little, if any, chance of getting my money back.
Noticing What Isn't Right Engaging in Conversation Meeting the Person Community Q&A For most of us, finding love on the internet can be a gift from heaven.
For others, however, it can be a life-ruining decision – leaving us penniless, heartbroken and with many more problems heading our way.
Usually there will be links or buttons on profiles to block or report individuals.
• If you are a victim of dating fraud you can call Action Fraud on 03; actionfraud.Someone you have started to develop a relationship with online might first ask for money for travel costs, or say they have lost their plane ticket so need to borrow some cash for a new one.They might say a family member is ill and they need funds for urgent medical treatment."My embarrassment is overwhelming but I feel that I must take this step in reporting my experience in order to help promote awareness and to help other innocents to avoid such devastating situations," she added.Five scams on the rise in 2014 Protect yourself against dating fraud • Trust your instincts.• Never reply to communications from someone who you meet on a dating site/chat room or social networking website that then wants continue the communication by email.