Most of us have seen at least one episode of MTV’s hit show Catfish where Nev Schulman travels across the country to bust those who have been posing as a fake person in a relationship. What we don’t know, however, is that catfishing and relationship scams are a huge issue in our country. Yes, they’re really entertaining for television, but the truth is that relationships scams affect thousands of people and cost taxpayers millions of dollars.
In case you didn’t know, catfishing is defined by Merriam-Webster as “a person who sets up a false personal profile on a social networking site for fraudulent or deceptive purposes.” Many times, these people enter online relationships with unknowing victims. Whether their purpose be to extort money from the victim, mess with their emotions, or do it for their own pleasure, catfishing is a common scam that is deceptive and hurtful.
WorkWise recently took data from the IC3 Government State reports and compiled it into an analysis of different ransomware attacks in different states. The report also gave data on relationship scams, which WorkWise was able to take and find the states with the biggest and smallest relationship scam problems. To see which states are getting catfished the most, keep reading.
Out of all states, the most victims are located in California. According to the data, over 10,000 people got catfished or were involved in a relationship scam in 2018. This cost the state a whopping $95.9 million, which is over three times as much as the state with the next highest losses. Florida and Texas are the states with the second and third highest number of victims, as each has over 5,000 catfish victims and around $30 million each in losses. New York and Virginia are also ranked on the list of states with the highest number of victims, while North Carolina takes the 5th spot for states with the most financial losses due to catfishing.
The states with the smallest relationship scam problems in terms of victims are North Dakota, Wyoming, South Dakota, Vermont, and Montana. Each state had around 100 to 200 victims each, with North Dakota having the smallest amount (107) and Montana having the largest amount (217). For the states with the smallest financial losses due to relationship scams, South Dakota, Vermont, Wyoming, Washington, D.C., and Mississippi all have under $700,000 in losses, with some being as low as $195,000 (South Dakota).
While it’s easy to think you may never be catfished, it’s more widespread than it may seem. Dating apps like Tinder are known for a large number of people posing as other people, and with around 50 million users on Tinder, sometimes it’s hard to pick out who’s a catfish and who isn’t. Any time you engage in an interaction with an online person, make sure the person you’re speaking to is actually who they say they are. You don’t want to get caught up in any scam, whether it be for money, a relationship, or something else. Being catfished isn’t limited to the states listed above, so be careful!