Dyfed-Powys Police said there had been a ificant increase in romance fraud during the coronavirus pandemic.
The force said criminals were taking advantage of people's loneliness during lockdown. Rebecca Jones, fraud safeguarding officer for the force, said men and women aged from 18 to years-old had been targeted after looking for love online.
In June, July and August this year, more than reports were made to the hotline a month, indicating an increase in scams during the pandemic. But Carole, who lives in west Wales, said he soon asked her for a loan, claiming his bank Datong had been frozen, but six months after she sent him money she found he was using someone else's photo online and "my world fell apart".
He managed to convince her he was not a fraudster though, and she continued to send him money despite suspicions. He said while it was a crime, victims should be reassured that police would be looking for the fraudsters rather than blaming them.
Police said with further lockdowns likely, iin people like Carole could fall victim to fraudsters, and they urged people to look for warning s - like "too perfect" profile pictures, and to stick to reputable apps and websites. Now she has shared her story in the hope it will help others spot the s and not fall victim to scams. I felt grief all over again and it brought back all the bad memories of losing my husband," she said.