Charlotte Notley, from Norwich, has spent years investigating suspicious activities, two-timing spouses, and secretive dalliances.
With the holidays fast approaching and many people more vulnerable or feeling lonely, the PI has shared advice on con artists who might be after your cash.
Here are her top tips for avoiding a broken heart and empty wallet this winter.
“[The most common romance scams] are typically persons who befriend individuals online who then build a rapport with them for financial gain,” Charlotte told NeedToKnow.co.uk.
“[To spot a fake], look at the profile activity and how long they have been live.
“Check Google images for their profile picture!
“This is a great tool to reverse search an image and if it is a fake person, it will be a fake image pulled from the internet.
“A romance scammer will take whatever information you give them so be cautious and don’t give too much away until you meet them.
“When you do meet them, meet in a public place and have a ‘get out’ route planned as well as telling a close friend/family where you are going.”
Romance scams can be heartbreaking, both for financial and emotional reasons.
If it does happen to you, there are steps you can take to protect yourself further.
Charlotte said: “If you think you have been scammed, gather as much information including screenshots as you can and report this to Action Fraud.
“Don’t lose any evidence by letting them delete profiles and email accounts before you get the chance to report it.”
Charlotte also shares a cautionary tale of a client who lost quite a chunk of cash in a romance scam.
She said: “We helped a gentleman who had been having an online and over-the-phone relationship for some months.
“He lost in excess of £70,000 to the female he was talking to as she would ask for money all the time and ask for her loans to be paid off, which our client did as he thought he was helping her.
“He had concerns as he was running out of money and this annoyed his ‘partner’ so he came to us to verify who she actually was.
“It turns out she was not at all who she said she was, and our client was able to issue proceedings against her to get his money back.
“Not all of it, but some of it at least.”
There’s a risk to dating online, but try not to close yourself off from future relationships or love due to fear of being swindled.
Charlotte added: “Love is wonderful but unfortunately some people are not.
“I think if you are looking for love and concerned of being scammed, be skeptical and curious but never close off to love.
“There is always a risk of being scammed. Not just in love.
“Being educated and aware of the risks means you know how to protect yourself in all scenarios.
“I would recommend old-fashioned meeting people in social situations to find love instead of the internet as it eliminates fake profiles.
“Then it is making sure the person you meet is who they say they are!”