A new study shows Americans lost a record $1.3 billion to romance scams in 2022, up 138% from $547 million in 2021. This marks the largest single-year hike over the past five years.
Connecticut ranks No. 26 with 159 victims losing $7.1 million in 2022. Connecticut has the No. 8 highest average loss per victim at $44,851.
The 10 states that lost the most money were highly populated led by California, Texas, Florida, and New York but it was smaller states that saw the biggest increases in money lost year-over-year led by Arkansas (398% increase), New Mexico (268%), and Maine (216%). Four new states entered the top 10 in 2022 for total money lost — Arizona, Ohio, North Carolina, and Illinois.
Social Catfish, a reverse search technology company, today released a study on the State of Romance Scams in America using FBI’s IC3 and FTC data from 2023, and internal data from 10 million of its users.
5 Key Findings:
1) Most Total Money Lost: California ($158M), Texas ($60.3M), Florida ($53.4M), New York ($33.5M), and Arizona ($25.4M).
2) Highest Average Loss per Victim: California ($72,239), North Dakota ($59,238), New Mexico ($57,001), Wisconsin ($53,309), and Delaware ($46,065).
3) Biggest Increase in Money Lost From 2021 to 2022: Arkansas (398%), New Mexico (269%), Maine (216%), New Hampshire (155%), and West Virginia (135%).
4) Crypto is the No. 1 Payment Method: Accounting for 34% of all money lost in 2022. Bank wire transfers was No. 2 at 27% and gift cards was No. 3 at 7%.
5) Most Common Lie Used by Scammers: Being “sick, hurt or in jail” was the most common lie used in 24% of scams. The No. 2 lie was “I can teach you how to invest” used in 18% of scams.
3 Romance Scams to Avoid in 2023:
1) Celebrity Romance Scam: Scammers are increasingly pretending to be celebrities on social media. One victim sent money to a fake Nicolas Cage and another chose not to send a fraudulent Keanu Reeves $400,000 to help him finance the John Wick movie.
How to Avoid: If a celebrity asks for money, it is a scam. Fake accounts have less followers and strange handles.
2) Cryptocurrency Romance Scams: Fraudsters claim to have gotten rich in crypto and convince the victim to invest with them by downloading an app. While the app even has data showing return on investment, it is all just a scam.
How to Avoid: Never make crypto investments with anyone you have not met.
3) Military Romance scams: Scammers steal military photos and claim to be stationed overseas which is why they cannot meet in person. They ask for money to fly back to the U.S. so they can finally meet and be together.
This press release was made possible by: