(KRON) — Looking for love? The most convenient way to meet someone these days is via online dating apps. But be careful; a recent study found that Californians are swindled out of the most money out of every state in America due to online romance scams.
Over the past five years, romance scams have become the number one type of fraud, according to the Federal Trade Commission, and are only expected to get worse.
In total, Americans have been swindled out of a record $547 million due to online romance scams in 2021, according to the study done by Social Catfish.
Californians alone have lost a whopping $183 million–more than double the total loss in the second highest state. With a total of about 3,023 victims in California, that equals about $60,843 in losses on average per victim.
The states where the most money has been stolen behind California are:
|Florida||1,738 victims||$70,483,554 total loss||$40,554 avg loss/victim|
|Texas||1,752 victims||$65,430,519 total loss||$37,346 avg loss/victim|
|New York||1,168 victims||$57,577,392 total loss||$49,296 avg loss/victim|
|Washington||657 victims||$31,958,914 total loss||$48,644 avg loss/victim|
|New Jersey||517 victims||$30,142,767 total loss||$58,303 avg loss/victim|
|Pennsylvania||723 victims||$30,055,491 total loss||$41,571 avg loss/victim|
|Colorado||445 victims||$24,492,897 total loss||$55,040 avg loss/victim|
|Virginia||613 victims||$22,143,549 total loss||$36,123 avg loss/victim|
|Massachusetts||415 victims||$21,796,694 total loss||$52,522 avg loss/victim|
Social Catfish has come up with a list of the most common dating scams to be aware of this year:
- ‘Money Mules’: In many cases, people are being tricked into laundering money and facing prosecution. Think: a caller claims to have someone you love hostage and demands a ransom.
- ‘CryptoRom’: Cryptocurrency-related scams have resulted in about $139 million in losses in 2021. Scammers will try and convince victims to invest in a bogus cryptocurrency and steal money that way.
- Teens Targeted on TikTok: Although tech-savvy, teens can often get scammed out of money because they are feeling love for the first time. Teens have reportedly lost about $101 million as scammers have increased their presences on social media apps due to the pandemic.
- Social Media Influencers: Similarly, the amount of fake social media “influencer” profiles has increased due to the pandemic as well. Scammers will then use these fake profiles to approach followers, pretend to be romantically interested and trick people out of money.
- Gift Card Scams: The number one payment method used to scam victims out of money in 2021 was gift cards, seeing a loss of $36 million. Instead of asking for money transfers or wires that can be traced, scammers will ask victims to send them untraceable gift cards.
Moral of the story: Never give money to someone you met online. They could easily not be who they say they are, and you could be out thousands of dollars.
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Check how much money those looking for romance in other states have been swindled out of.
Social Catfish analyzed the FBI’s annual Internet Crime Complaint Center fraud report which was released in March 2022, the FTC’s annual fraud report released in February 2022, and trends from socialcatfish.com users.