People are often ashamed to come forward and admit that they’ve been duped.It’s not a good feeling to have been taken advantage of, and a scheme that’s so obvious in hindsight is even harder to admit to. If you date online, take precautions to protect yourself.

In August, a British man was sent to jail after defrauding two women of over £300,000 ($455,300) through online dating sites.

He had convinced them that he was a diplomat and that a US marine general had fallen in love with them, causing one woman to pawn jewelry, empty her life savings, sell her car, and take out loans to help this general move to the UK. In 2011, the Internet Crime Complaint Center estimated that the online dating scamming “industry” was worth over $50 million, but it’s likely much higher than that, due to the difficulty of making a good estimate.

When they aren't, you have agreed to personally make them good.

Scammers are on dating sites, and social networks setting up fake profiles.

A new report by the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau has found that last year, singles were conned out of £39 million by fraudsters they’d met on dating sites and apps.

Con artists are increasingly creating fake online profiles and tricking people on dating sites into handing over often large sums of money.

Nancy*, a 47-year-old single mother from North Yorkshire was conned out of over £350,000 that way: “I wasn't comfortable, and then I got so far in I couldn't get myself out, and I didn't want to walk away having lost £50,000 or what-have-you, so you keep going in the hope that you're wrong and this person is genuine,” she explained to the BBC.

Nancy is now facing bankruptcy, and although her case is extreme, the average victim of online dating fraud loses £10,000 according to Action Fraud.

Around 7.8 million UK adults used online dating sites in 2016, up from just 100,000 in 2000.

But just as dating app users are at an all-time high, so is the number of people becoming victims of online dating fraud.

In mid December the Department of Justice announced that seven men—six from Nigeria and one from South Africa—pled guilty to conning tens of millions of dollars from Americans via online dating sites.