News Department

Study shows New Jersey is tenth most ‘catfished’ state in 2021

NEW JERSEY – A new study shows a record $547 million was lost to catfishing or romance scams in 2021 and New Jersey ranks No. 10 for the most money lost per capita.

Online love seekers in New Jersey lost $324,500 per 100,000 residents last year. Overall, the state had 517 victims report losses of $30,142,767.

Criminals became increasingly ubiquitous on dating and social media apps in 2020 to prey on lonely singles during lockdowns. Even though dating life is back to normal, more people are using dating apps than ever before and consequently romance scams are increasing in numbers and complexity.

Social Catfish recently released a study on the States Hardest Hit by Romance Scams using population adjusted data from the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint center and the FTC released in 2022.

Among the 10 hardest hit states, the top six are in the West and the next four are in the East.

10 hardest hit states:

  • North Dakota: $1,558,064 (Per 100,000 residents)
  • Nevada: $486,233
  • Alaska: $481,601
  • California: $465,191
  • Colorado: $424,214
  • Washington: $414,766
  • Rhode Island: $411,857
  • Maryland: $334,756
  • Florida: $327,249
  • New Jersey: $324,500

Three romance scams to avoid in 2022:

  1. ‘Money Mules’: A new twist is when scammers do not ask for money, they send you some and ask you to wire it to their family member in trouble overseas. They claim their bank is having issues. Once the victim agrees, they have participated in a money laundering scheme. How to Avoid: Never provide your bank information or send and accept wire transfers.
  2. CryptoRom’:  Cryptocurrency related romance scams accounted for the largest losses in 2021 of $139 million, up more than 25 times those reported in 2019.  Scammers gains the victims trust, and instead of asking for money, they convince them to invest in a bogus crypto app. How to Avoid: Never invest money with anyone you meet online. If you want to invest in Crypto, use well-known Apps like, Coinbase and PayPal.
  3. Social Media Influencer Scams: The FTC labeled social media a ‘gold mine’ for scammers as more than one third of romance scams originated on Facebook or Instagram in 2021.  Scammers create fake profiles, often stealing the likeness of an attractive and successful ‘influencer’ and engage in romance scams. How to Avoid: Do a reverse image search to confirm if the person in the photos goes by the same name as the person who friend requested you on social media.

If you believe you have been contacted by a romance scammer report it to the FBI and the FTC.

Jay Edwards

Born and raised in Northwest NJ, Jay has a degree in Communications and has had a life-long interest in local radio and various styles of music. Jay has held numerous jobs over the years such as stunt car driver, bartender, voice-over artist, traffic reporter (award winning), NY Yankee maintenance crewmember and peanut farm worker. His hobbies include mountain climbing, snowmobiling, cooking, performing stand-up comedy and he is an avid squirrel watcher. Jay has been a guest on America’s Morning Headquarters,program on The Weather Channel, and was interviewed by Sam Champion.

Related Articles

Back to top button