Everyone wants someone to love. So much so that Queen wrote a song about it, and countless other ballads have topped billboard charts about this widespread emotion. Songs like “Love is All You Need” by John Lennon and “I Will Always Love You” by Whitney Houston offer varying perspectives on love. But what happens when romantic love turns out to be fake?
Romance Scams Are on The Rise
For some, searching for a soulmate is a terrible, heartbreaking lesson in mistrust. The Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) Internet Crime Complaint Center records fraud cases, and romance rackets are a massive sector in their financial scams database.
With Social Catfish, we can look over data by state to see which ones rank in the top ten for money lost and the number of victims subject to romance scams. And guess what, California was sadly number one last year.
The Golden State ranks number one in money lost to romance scams and the sheer number of victims. With each victim losing an average of $72,239, the total financial hit to California is somewhere in the ballpark of $158.1 million.
The Lonestar State takes second place in assets lost to romance scams as of 2022. With a total loss of $60.3 million, Texans lost an average of $48,358 per victim. While it’s a significant drop in overall loss, the individual circumstances for each victim are devastating, especially given the nature of the scams in question.
Florida ranked third in romance scams last year, totaling $53.4 million in financial destruction. Each victim reportedly lost around $36,236 in fraud like the Nigerian Prince scam.
Ranking number 36 in the most expensive states, Floridians spend a lot of money on rent and utilities. A hit to the wallet like this can spell financial disaster when there’s nothing to gain.
4. New York
New York is the fourth most populated state to live in. With 19.68 million people within its borders, it’s easy to see why it makes the list for romance fraud statistics for 2022. New Yorkers lost $33.5 million for a victim average of $40,720 per person.
That’s enough to buy 20,462 value burgers from Wendy’s.
The Grand Canyon State slides into fifth place with a massive $25.4 million lost across 680 victims. That means each victim of these romance scams lost a gut-wrenching $37,374.
For reference, you can buy a brand-new car for less than that amount and even purchase a tiny home for that sum of money.
Spot number six belongs to the great Old Dominion State. Virginia also ranks number seven for each of its 552 fraud cases. Each victim, lost a hefty $44,937.
That’s enough money to purchase 22.29 ounces of gold.
With 478 people affected by romance scams in 2022, Washington state skips into seventh place, costing people a heartbreaking $21.1 million or $44,168 each. Washington also took the tenth spot for the most lost per person by state.
The Buckeye State clinches spot number eight with 502 affected people. Romance fraud cases cost a stressful $20.4 million. This serious amount adds up to $40,757 per individual. You could purchase up to 10 acres of undeveloped land or a land/home package for that price.
9. North Carolina
The Tar Heel State sits in ninth place for its loss of $18 million, affecting 422 people, with each individual losing $42,752.
For that amount of money, each of these victims could have fed 7,125 homeless people for one day. That would care for most homeless people across the entire state.
The Prairie State lands in tenth place with a loss of $17.7 million across 506 people. This loss amounts to $35,137 per person scammed.
That total could fully fund 35 animal shelters for an entire year of operations. That would have saved thousands of dogs and cats from being euthanized due to low funds and supply costs.
Email scams have been some of the trickiest fraud cases for the general public and law enforcement. Hard to pin on a single individual; these extortion attempts prey on the hearts of people who want something better. Whether it’s a great relationship or a better job, scammers know how to word a message so that people are willing to give out sensitive information.
However, some warning signs have become noticeable to help filter out potential emails that might be trying to scam you out of money.
- Never open an email if you don’t know who sent it.
- Never reply to an email that asks for your social security number, physical address, or banking or credit card information.
- Be careful when dealing with business or financial emails like PayPal. If an email dealing with your account is sitting in your mailbox, it will say the business name in the email. It will never be a series of jumbled letters and numbers. But, because these fraudulent emails have the PayPal logo attached, many people open them without first looking at the email address that sent it.
- Call a business if you’re unsure whether they sent you an email. They’ll be able to confirm whether or not that email came from them. This advice includes your bank, credit card companies, the IRS, government agencies, and other legitimate businesses.
No one likes to have their financial security dwindled by fraud, mainly because there’s little recourse for recovering the money. So, the next time you see a suspicious email, delete it.