CUMBRIA Police are warning of the dangers of online fraud, including an increase in cases of 'romance fraud'.

Detective Superintendent Andy Slattery explains: “One area of online fraud we have seen an increase in is romance fraud – where offenders target vulnerable, often elderly, people through dating websites.

"One typical scam involves women being contacted by people pretending to be from the armed forces abroad, who ask for money.

"We have seen people lose hundreds of thousands of pounds through scams like these."

The warning comes as part of a week-long cybercrime campaign.

Police are advising people to take simple steps to help prevent online fraud.

DS Slattery said: “The internet is a definitely a key target for fraudsters due to the sheer amount of personal and financial information people now provide online.

"The internet has made shopping, banking and communicating easier than ever – but there is a dark side to the internet that people need to protect themselves against.

“I would urge anyone who uses the internet to take precautions when giving out any information online.”