Single people looking for love through online dating are using private investigators to make sure their potential suitors stack up.

Rotorua private investigator Mike Dingwall said it was not uncommon for locals to ask him to check out people on dating websites.

He said that while online dating was becoming more popular and successful, there were plenty of people who weren't using it for legitimate reasons.

These included people trying to scam money from vulnerable singles and married people who were pretending to be single.


He said some were also making themselves out to be more of a "catch" than they really were.

"Sometimes people just want it verified that they are as good as what they say - if they make out they are 7ft tall and built like Sonny Bill Williams when actually they might be someone who looks like Danny DeVito."

Mr Dingwall said he was approached because people, mainly women, wanted peace of mind.

"Some people are on there for legitimate reasons and others are on there for personal gain. A lot of people just want me to confirm that he is as good as he looks so they don't get taken for a ride. Relationships are important to everyone."

He said internet dating was great for some people, especially the middle-aged who were beyond the pub scene.

The trend follows Australia where DateScreen, a service dedicated to investigating online Romeos, was launched in June.

Senior investigator Julia Robson says she receives about 20 calls a day to the service.

And Lachlan Jarvis, from Lyonswood Investigations and Forensic Group, also in Australia, said investigating online daters now made up about 10 per cent ofthe group's investigations business.

The inquiries come from men and women wanting to check would-be lovers are not already married or lying about their wealth or have criminal records.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission said Australians were defrauded of more than $21 million while trying to find love online last year.

Meanwhile, New Zealand's singles have been in an online dating frenzy.

FindSomeone manager Rick Davies said the dating website founded in 2001 had been experiencing a record level of activity this week.

He said people aged between 18 and 35 were driving the increase in activity.