Sydney -

An Adelaide woman looking for love was bilked of 480 000 Australian dollars (494 000 US dollars) by a man she met on the internet, South Australia state police said on Friday.

The 48-year-old woman sent 80 000 Australian dollars before she was contacted by another man who told her she had been cheated and he would help her get her money back.

She paid out another 400 000 Australian dollars before realising she had been duped twice.

“Our advice is that if you've already sent money and then receive a request for more money to help recover money, people should consider that as a further fraudulent attempt to obtain more money,” Detective Inspector Greg Hutchins said.

He warned that recouping money was impossible because of the difficulty of tracing scammers and bringing prosecutions in foreign countries.

Lovelorn Australians are estimated to give up more than 2.5 million Australian dollars a month to dating scammers. Few come forward to admit their foolishness, preferring to keep quiet about their losses.

Last year a 61-year-old Adelaide man was jailed for defrauding fellow Australians of 580 000 Australian dollars through a bank deposit scam.

James Nolan is serving a 5-year sentence after claiming to have 450 000 Australian dollars in a Swiss bank account that he was happy to share with those who helped him liberate it. - Sapa-dpa