The state of California once again became the state in the American union with the highest number of people defrauded by romantic scams with 2,189, as well as the one with the highest losses for said crime for 158.1 million dollars.
This is according to figures from the Federal Bureau of Investigation? FBI, for its acronym in English?, an agency that detailed that Texas moved to number two, losing 60.3 million dollars, and Florida fell to third, losing 53.4 million dollars.
And it is that, almost 70 thousand Americans lost a record of thousand 300 million dollars in romance scams in 2022 according to the Federal Trade Commission, a staggering 138 percent more than the 547 million in 2021.
According to a study by the online research service Social Catfish, this 138 percent jump from last year is by far the biggest the country has ever seen, and despite mounting government warnings, pop culture shows like “The Tinder Swindler,” which aired last year past on Netflix, and increased public awareness, romance scams continue to leave unprecedented numbers of Americans heartbroken and heartbroken.
What is a romance scam?
Romance scams are when criminals steal photos of attractive people and create fake profiles on dating apps or social media platforms, then develop a relationship with the victim by showing them romantic interests over a long period of time or through elaborate schemes involving multiple people, to lead them to money laundering, cryptocurrency or gift card scams.
While the methods used by scammers have evolved over time, the results remain the same: people are left penniless and heartbroken, with little recourse to justice due to government jurisdiction interviews.
Most romance scams come from Nigeria
The original romance scam was the infamous Nigerian prince scam that began during the infancy of the internet in AOL chat rooms. Today, romance scams take place in large office buildings in Nigeria, where criminals operate using a combination of strategies from Corporate America and other crime syndicates, Social Catfish said.
He explained that offices are occupied 24 hours a day, 7 days a week by dozens of “employees” who are responsible for finding “clients”, also known as victims. Operating much like a mafia syndicate, when a con artist steals money from a victim, a good percentage of the profits go to the top leaders, or the “Boss” of the organization. Senior leadership provides new workers with infrastructure, training, and support.
Social Catfish claimed to have infiltrated these organizations and works with several reformed Nigerian romance scammers who serve as field consultants in Nigeria.
These reformed scammers, he said, have provided Social Catfish with leaked training manuals, details about how these organizations are run, and will track down information about specific romance scam cases that Social Catfish is trying to help solve on behalf of its users.
Cryptocurrencies and gift cards
The research also showed that one way to tell you’re dealing with a romance scammer is not just if they ask for money, but what form of payment they’re asking for.
Nearly 35 percent of all money lost to romance scams in 2022 was sent using cryptocurrency. However, the most common form of payment requested by scammers is gift cards.
Analysis by Social Catfish, based on a survey of 3,047 romance scam victims from May to August 2022, revealed that 75 percent of romance scam victims have a college education, and 13 percent have earned graduate degrees. .
Middle- and lower-class Americans account for 84 percent of romance scam victims, with 44 percent earning less than $100,000 a year and an additional 40 percent earning less than $40,000 a year.
In all, 84 percent of victims make less than $100,000 and just 16 percent make six figures, showing a strong socioeconomic correlation that those with less money are more susceptible.
The Social Catfish survey also found that 10 percent of victims lost more than $100,000 and 4 percent lost more than $200,000.
“As noted above, 84 % of the victims make less than $100,000 a year, meaning many had to sell their assets or take out loans to pay off their scammers. In addition, 35 percent of the victims retired and many had to rejoin the workforce,” the document states.
It should be noted that, in the national ranking, there are four new states in the top 10 in 2022, including Arizona “No. 5 instead of No. 14”, Ohio “No. 8 instead of No. 17”, North Carolina “No. 9 instead of No. 15”, and Illinois “No. 10 instead of No. 13”.
While four states dropped out of the top 10 this year, including Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Colorado and Massachusetts.
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