Online dating is difficult enough for some people without also having to worry about financial fraud. In the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic, with social media apps easily at hand to overcome the loneliness brought about by restrictions, fertile grounds abound for scammers. Unsurprisingly, there was a sharp rise in the number of such cases reported to Hong Kong police last year over 2020, from 905 to 1,659, with the amount lost increasing from HK$212 million to HK$599 million. The figure is probably far higher as victims usually experience shame and stigma, so are reluctant to inform authorities. All online crimes surged during the period, with the amount involved ballooning to HK$3.02 billion. Hard economic times make people vulnerable; 1,063 were conned out of HK$85.3 million by paying fees to guarantee getting well-paid jobs that did not exist. Email swindles involving HK$1.53 billion were reported. But people who believe in “true love” or have dreams of meeting the perfect partner can easily be swayed by the online tactics of a skilful fraudster. An attractive profile, carefully worded messages of affection that escalate to discussing a future together, requests to transfer funds, hand over personal information or borrow money, are typical methods. Police noticed a trend in Hong Kong for scammers to couple romance with investment fraud, 642 victims being wooed and then lured into deals through fake apps to part with more than HK$360 million. Fed false information that profits were being made, the pressure to part with even more cash, together with ever-greater expressions of love, increased. Blaming victims for their actions is too easy; studies show vulnerability is not static and can change with personal circumstances, such as the end of a relationship, retirement or work stress. It does not help that Hong Kong is gripped by a fast-spreading fifth wave of the coronavirus and under tough preventive measures. Clear thinking can be impaired when charmed by a smooth-talking fraudster. But for the alert, the advice is simple: background check a potential online suitor, take the relationship into the real world as soon as possible, lessening the likelihood of handing over money, and never give cash if it has to be borrowed.