Since the internet became a thing, scamming became a bigger thing. One of the easiest ways to scam people is to tug at their heart strings. One of the most deceptive heartstring scams involves matters of the heart or “catfishing.”
Catfishing is just what it sounds like: luring people into a romance for the purpose of scamming them. A new report from HighSpeedInternet.com, called, When Love Bites: 2019 Catfishing Numbers By State used the 2018 FBI Internet Crimes Report to rank the top three states for catfishing: 1) Alaska; 2) Nevada; 3) Wisconsin.
Nationwide, Americans lost more than $323 million as a result of romance scams. Consumer advocates say there are a number of ways to protect yourself from these romance scams so you don’t lose money.
First, never send money to someone you just met online. Never open bank or credit accounts for someone.
Never give them your personal information like a social security number that could easily be used in identity theft. Never disclose financial information or offer information, like a mother’s maiden name or childhood nickname, that could be used as security question answers to verify your identity.
Most importantly, if you are a victim of a romance scam, report it. Too many victims are embarrassed and don’t ask for help when they need it. Only about 10 percent of romance scams are ever reported. Rather than changing their behaviors, the scammers, when discovered, just move on to another target.
Do you have additional information about catfishing scams? Are there other romance scams we should know about? Tell us in the comments below. You can also contact us for more information! Feel free to shoot us an email to Outreach@ConsiderTheConsumer.com. You can also find us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, or even connect with us directly on our website!
About the Author: Aisha K. Staggers is a writer, lecturer, political analyst and literary agent. She appears weekly for “Staggers’ State of Things” on the Dr. Vibe Show. Her work has been published by Paper Magazine, AfroPunk, The Spool, GREY Journal, MTV News, HuffPost, Blavity, Atlanta Blackstar, For Harriet, New York Review of Books and a host of other first-run publications and syndicated outlets. Find her on Twitter @AishaStaggers. For more of her work, check out her page here!