NEW YORK — New York is looking for love in the wrong places on the surface, but a few other states across the country have been far more hurt by finding “fake love.”

According to a study by online research service Social Catfish, New York saw 823 people fall victim to romance scams in 2022, losing a total of $33.5 million. Believe it or not, this is actually an improvement from 2021, when state victims lost $57.6 million. So at least it seems people are becoming more and more aware of these types of scams.

In 2022 and 2021, New York ranked fourth in the nation for falling victim to romance scams, which can happen on dating apps or social media profiles after the scammer stole a profile picture. , pretending to be someone else.

Last year, the three states that lost the most to scams were Florida ($53.4 million), Texas ($60.3 million) and California, which lost significantly more money than any other state. The Golden State lost $158 million to the scams, according to the study, more than the next three states combined.

As for the other states in the tri-state area, New Jersey ranked 15th (up from 6th in 2021), with 361 victims who lost $14.2 million. Connecticut was right in the middle, with 159 people losing a total of $7.1 million, which ranked 26th in the nation. However, Connecticut had the eighth highest median amount lost, at nearly $45,000, which beat New York and New Jersey by about $5,000 each.

For the second year in a row, Vermont had the fewest romance scams with just 28 in total. Victims in Green Mountain State lost just over $373,000 in total, according to the study.

Overall, Americans lost a record $1.3 billion to romance scams last year, up from $547 million the year before, a 138% year-over-year increase. ‘other. It is also the largest single-year increase in the past five years, according to the study.

It’s not too surprising to see California, Texas, Florida and New York at the top of the list: each of them are very populated, which makes it easy for them to rack up big losses. And California had the highest average loss per victim, averaging just over $72,200, according to the study.

But the largest year-over-year increases in lost money occurred in much smaller states, such as Arkansas (398% increase), New Mexico (268% increase), Maine (216% increase), New Hampshire (155% increase). increase) and West Virginia (135% increase).

The victim was deceived by someone she met online. Liz González with the information.

What is the most common method of stealing money from unsuspecting victims who are simply looking for love?

What is the most common method of stealing money from unsuspecting victims who are simply looking for love? That would be crypto, which accounted for more than a third of all money lost to these types of scams last year. Bank transfers were the second most popular, while gift cards ranked third.

A quarter of all romance scammers would use the line that they were “sick, hurt or in jail” to get the target to send them money; it was used in just under a quarter of all scams, according to Social Catfish. Scammers also targeted those looking to learn more about money, as the “I can teach you how to invest” lie was used in 18% of scams.

In a survey of those attacked, Social Catfish said three quarters of the victims were college educated and 84% were lower or middle class. Nearly half of those surveyed earned less than $100,000 a year, according to the study.

In addition to the investigation, Social Catfish analyzed data from the FBI Internet Crime Complaint Center’s 2022 Fraud Report released in March 2023 and the Federal Trade Commission’s Annual Fraud Report released in February 2023 to draw conclusions. .

The study also named three scams in particular to watch out for:

  • Celebrity romance scam: Social Catfish said if an online celebrity appears to be contacting you asking for money, it’s a scam. And as crazy as it sounds, it happens: they say a victim sent money to a fake Nicolas Cage; another opted out of sending fraudster Keanu Reeves $400,000 to help fund the movie “John Wick.”
  • Cryptocurrency romance scam: those looking to scam people will say they got rich on cryptocurrency and try to convince the victim to invest with them by downloading an app. Sometimes the app will even show an ROI, but in reality, it’s a scam.
  • Military romance scam: some scammers scan military photos and pretend to be stationed overseas, which they use as the reason they can’t meet in person. But they will ask for money so they can fly to the United States to meet and be together. A reverse image search can help ensure the person you’re talking to is the person in the photo, the investigation service said.

So where are all these scammers?

The answer has its roots in one of the oldest scams on the internet: the Nigerian prince scams. Social Catfish said most romance scammers are found in Nigerian office buildings, where criminals use a mix of different strategies that can be seen in corporate America and elsewhere.

Office buildings are said to operate 24/7, and much of the money stolen by the scammer goes to whoever is responsible.

Make sure to send electronic payments to your destination as scammers prefer these apps.

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