Unlucky-in-love Kiwis were left broken-hearted and red-faced over the past year by online fraudsters who stole more than $674,000 from them.
Only about 30 victims were involved in the scams but many lost substantial sums - with one woman losing $250,000 to an online fraudster.
NetSafe says reports to its Online Reporting Button (Orb) website show that together with the brokenhearted and ripped off Kiwis and victims of other scams, a total of 1549 New Zealanders lost $982,690 in cyber incidents.
The previous year's figures showed more people lost less money, with $769,382 lost by 1669 New Zealanders in the 12 months to August 2011, and $340,000 lost through online dating scams alone.
NetSafe's executive director Martin Cocker says when people are asked for money online, they need to stop and think about how well they know that person.
"Scammers do go to some trouble to develop that relationship ... so people do need to be aware of those things and at that point where they're asked for money, think `is this the sort of thing that's supposed to happen in a relationship?'," he told NZ Newswire.
Last year's biggest victim started out by spending small amounts of money that increased - which Mr Cocker says is common in many romance scams.
Cold-calling computer "doctors" - who tell victims their computer has a virus which they can pay to have fixed - were the biggest issue reported to the Orb website for the second year running, although fewer people fell for the scam over the past year.
Although there was a rise in the number of people whose online accounts have been hacked, the public is becoming increasingly wise to fake requests for login details purporting to be from banks or IRD, Mr Cocker said.
There has been a significant rise in the number of complaints about online trading, including penny auction sites, and websites that never deliver the goods people have paid for.NetSafe urged the public to use strong, unique passwords and be wary of suspicious spam or phishing messages, pay by credit card when shopping online and be cautious of websites they haven't dealt with before.
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