The scam involves con-artists contacting people using chat rooms, dating websites and even jobsites, claiming to be looking for friendship and love.
It is rife throughout many dating sites, with scammers spending months grooming their new online friends to gain their trust and to make them fall for them, with caring messages morning and night.
Penny Coyne, 58, from Devon, has encountered enough scammers to last her a lifetime.
She was fooled into marrying a man who wanted nothing more than to be granted permanent residency in the UK, once he received it, he wasted no time in moving out and leaving her with £26,000 worth of debt.
Penny said: “My trust has been destroyed, I feel like I have been emotionally raped.”