When it comes to “catfishing,” the act of creating a fictional persona or fake identity on a social networking platform (such as a dating app) to target a victim, Florida certainly knows a thing or two. The Sunshine State has come in third place as the country’s third most catfished state in America.
According to the website Social Catfish, a record-breaking $304,000,000 was lost in the United States due to romance scams — a rise of 50% since 2019, which shows the rate of romance scams has increased significantly since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The study, which was based on data from the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center and the Federal Trade Commission, detailed how Florida had a record of 1,600 victims who lost more than $40 million in romance scams in 2020 alone.
Only California and Texas were ranked higher than Florida in terms of money lost to the scams.
The five most targeted states in 2020 were California (3,110 victims, $120M lost), Texas (1,602 victims, $42.1M), Florida (1,603 victims, $40.1M), Michigan (572 victims, $28.6M) and New York (1,103 victims, $26.2M).
The study also concluded that in 2020, dating app revenue exceeded $3 billion for the first time, which most likely created an unprecedented opportunity for scammers to prey on isolated victims during the pandemic.
For the complete study, click here.