Total scam victims in each state: Texas ranks second highest | #datingscams | #russianliovescams | #lovescams

More people in Texas are scammed on the internet than almost all of the other U.S. states.

Search and verification website Social Catfish studied recent online scams reported to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center and the Federal Trade Commission to find out where in the country were the most number of victims.

“This study is an extension of Social Catfish’s mission to protect consumers from Internet scams through its reverse search technology which can confirm the identity of the person you are interacting with online,” the report said, adding that its results in 2021 were cited in a Federal Trade Commission report to Congress.

Texas ranked second highest in the country, with 41,148 victims reported in 2022 alone, the study found. In total, Texans this year lost more than $600 million dollars to online scams. The only state higher than Texas was California at 67,095 victims who, in total, lost more than $1.2 billion.

The average theft from each victim in the Lone Star State this year was $14,732. Moreover, the amount of money stolen by online scammers has doubled in the country since the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the FBI. In 2019, $3.5 billion was stolen online. In 2021, that number jumped to a staggering $6.9 billion.

People over the age of 60 lost the most amount of money last year — $1.68 billion, the data showed. The five most common types of scams that targeted the elderly in 2021 involved tech support at No. 1, followed by non-payment or non-delivery scams, identity theft, confidence fraud or romance scams, and personal data breaches.

In the last five years, victims under 20 saw the largest percentage increase in money lost due to online scams at 1125.92%, the website reported. In 2017, the amount lost was $8.2 million. In 2021, that number increased to $101.4 million. This alarming trend may be because 54% of U.S. households polled by Social Catfish said they don’t monitor their children’s activities online.

Cryptocurrency and investment scams saw the two largest increases of all scams, according to the data. A record $1.6 billion was lost to crypto scams in 2021, a nearly seven-fold increase from $246 million in 2020. Meanwhile, $1.4 billion was lost in 2021 to investment scams, up from $336 million in 2020, marking a 332% annual increase.

Corporations also saw record losses to online scams, losing $2.4 billion to business e-mail compromise scams in 2021 — a 28% increase from 2020. 

According to Social Catfish, some tips people can use to avoid being scammed online include never giving money or personal information to anyone they have never met in person, using the website to reverse search strangers to try to verify their identity, watching out for common signs of an online scam (poor grammar, refusal to video chat, person working overseas, person asking to be paid in gift cards or cryptocurrency), using different passwords for online accounts, and reporting scams immediately to the FTC, FBI and financial institutions.

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