Worrying 2021 Catfishing Statistics [+ Tips To Protect Yourself]

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Are you concerned about catfishing online? Well, if not, maybe you should be.

Prepare yourself for some mind-blowing catfishing statistics and facts.

You’re about to get an insight into the range of catfishing and catfishing records that will make you think.

We’ve gathered important facts about the catfishing rates, reasons for catfishing, and the most used strategies that could help you understand and anticipate the problem.

We’ve also included a few tactics to stay safe from online deception.

If you pay attention and know how they work, you might be able to smell a catfish a mile away.

Quite a superpower, don’t you think?

Catfishing Statistics - image 1

Fascinating Catfishing Statistics

  • Romance scams reported to FTC in 2020 resulted in a total of $304 million in losses
  • Approximately 35% of the victims of catfishing experience psychological consequences
  • Among the main reasons for catfishing are profit, revenge, boredom, and curiosity
  • When it comes to gender, 64% of catfishers are women
  • 35% of catfishers are catfishing for profit
  • Catfishers look for their victims on social media networks, online dating sites, chat applications, etc.
  • According to catfishing records, 83% of Facebook profiles are fake
  • 53% of Americans lie on their dating profiles
  • 51% of online daters are taken, although they pose as single
  • While Texas is the state with the biggest number of catfishing cases, Alaska stands for the most dangerous catfishing state

General Catfishing Online Statistics

Many people find themselves tricked and suffer losses due to online fraud.

Unfortunately, you might as well come across a catfisher who will gain your trust and then disappear, usually with your money, leaving you robbed and brokenhearted.

You must be aware of the magnitude of this problem and the right ways to protect yourself, so keep reading.

We will walk you through some vital facts and statistics regarding this phenomenon that affects a large number of internet users.

In case you’re wondering “what is catfishing?”, the answer is right here.

Catfishing is when people use a fake identity online to lure you into a relationship – business or romance.

Although catfishing is done by both sexes, there are a few differences between men and women.

1 . According to catfishing records, men are almost 25% more likely to fall victim to catfishing than women.

(Sugarcookie)

It seems like, even though men make approximately 43% of potential victims targeted by catfishers, they are more prone to believing fake personas on the internet.

Around 20% of men who were catfished admitted that they were tricked more than five times!

The percentage of catfish cases with female victims is around 28%.

We are not going to make general assumptions, but the following statistic reveals yet another gender difference when it comes to catfishing practices.

2 . More than half of the catfishers, or 64% to be exact, are women.

(Free Background Checks)

Ok, not very flattering for the ladies, is it?

According to catfishing reports, it’s more likely that, if you ever get hooked, it will be by a woman.

Beware regardless of what gender you are, its common for catfishers to pose as persons of the opposite sex.

And that’s just the beginning.

 3 . To understand how common catfishing is, let’s start with the fact that 53% of Americans lie on their dating profiles.

(Psychology Today)

This is something to keep in mind when starting an online conversation.

The term catfishing also includes some more benign forms of deception, the ones that don’t aim to profit from catfishing.

People also use catfishing to appear more appealing and attractive.

4 . Over 20% of women used pictures of themselves at a younger age on their dating profiles.

(Psychology Today)

Statistics on catfishing show that women are more likely to lie about their age or appearance, and men about their financial situation.

Around 40% of men indicated that they have lied about their finances, often posing as better-paid professionals.

Women are no strangers to this, so we have around 30% of women stating that they did the same thing.

Catfishing statistics - image 2

Reasons for Catfishing

Different people with different intentions can hide behind an online deception.

Knowing the main reasons will help you understand this phenomenon and stay on the safe side.

5 . When it comes to why people catfish others, the most common answers are financial gain, revenge, and even curiosity and boredom.

(Dating Advice)

Catfishes sometimes pick a victim they want to hurt or do it just to keep themselves entertained.

They could be teenagers with love problems, or even serious hackers aiming for access to your bank account or intending to steal your identity.

You will have a better perspective of how serious this can be by looking at some revealing identity theft statistics.

If you want to make sure you’re not making a mistake when sharing your private information, use some of the best people search sites to determine who you are dealing with.

In addition to that, identity theft protection companies are always a good idea.

6 . Catfishing information reveals that the profile of a catfisher may go from a person with low self-esteem to a downright sociopath.

(Free Dating)

People tend to lie on their profiles for fun, to spice things up, or simply from boredom. But some of them can be extremely dangerous. They are often compulsive liars or have a history of abusing and being abused.

You should be extra careful when starting any virtual relationships or engaging in online dating. If something seems off or even too good to be true, unfortunately, it usually is.

On the other hand, sometimes things simply work out.

But just to make sure, it doesn’t hurt knowing what shows up in a background check and using some of the trustworthy background check sites for your peace of mind.

7. 35% of catfish on the internet use catfishing for profit.

(Sugarcookie)

Often the catfisher intends to make money, usually after virtually starting a romantic relationship.

If you notice that everything is going too fast and a person you haven’t got a chance to meet in person asks for money using a family emergency or similar dramatic excuse, it’s a red flag.

Sometimes catfishers don’t rely on made-up stories to ask for money but use different catfishing methods instead.

8 . Statistics on catfishing show that 20% of people catfishing do so to get sexually explicit photos or videos of the victim. 

(Sugarcookie)

This is a very serious issue that involves a lot of consequences for the victim.

Even more alarming is the fact that 22% of people send nude photos or videos of themselves to catfishers.

Exchanging these messages can be a fun game with the right person, but also an embarrassing and hurtful experience if it gets into the wrong hands.

If you want to go down this road with someone you met on online dating sites, make sure to check them first through some of the best background check sites for dating.

Catfishing Facts on the Consequences of Romance Fraud

It’s not just hurt feelings that are at stake with those who fall prey to catfishing.

The following statistics will give you an insight into the astonishing catfish victim losses.

9 . Romance scams reported to FTC in 2020 resulted in a total of $304 million losses.

(Federal Trade Commission)

This is a record-breaker. It’s an increase of a staggering 50% compared to 2019. The most frequently used methods of payment to catfishers were gift cards and wire transfers.

The average amount of money sent to scammers is $2,500.

10 . Reports of catfishing victims that lost money increased in all age groups in 2020.

(Federal Trade Commission)

While the age group from 20 to 29 had the biggest spike, people aged 70 and older had the highest median figure regarding the individual losses.

Those between 40 and 69 proved to be the ones most likely to report catfishing.

11 . According to the FBI 2019 Internet Crime Report, confidence or romance scams were the second most reported crime in 2019.

(Norton)

Judging by the FBI records, there were nearly 20,000 people who were victims of some sort of confidence or romantic scam in 2019. Due to the specific concerns regarding these scams, it is believed that many cases remain unreported.

And at the end of the day, it’s not all about the money. The psychological effects of catfishing may be severe, as can be seen from the following data.

12 . Around 35% of victims of catfishing experience significant psychological consequences.

(Sugarcookie)

Victims can have genuine feelings towards the online con artist, so sometimes being catfished may lead to emotional distress and even cause mental health problems.

These issues can include but are not limited to anxiety, depression, and in some cases even paranoia.

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Social Media Catfish Statistics

Social media networks are one of the catfishers’ favorite playgrounds.

This is no surprise considering the vast opportunities for connection and anonymity that social media sites offer.

The con artists don’t miss this opportunity.

13 . The most common places that catfishers might try to get you are online dating sites, social media sites (Facebook, Instagram, etc.), instant messaging, or chat apps like Whatsapp, etc.

(Free Dating)

Catfishers can make fake profiles from scratch but sometimes, they assume the identity of a real person.

Sometimes the catfishers create their fake profile targeting a specific victim and therefore give their fake persona attributes that the victim could find appealing.

14 . Catfishing statistics show that around 50% of all romance scams reported to the FTC since 2019 involve social media, mostly Instagram or Facebook.

(Norton)

In the first half of 2020, the FTC stated that there were over $170 million losses reported in frauds that started on social media.

Having in mind the range of social media usage and the specific situation regarding the pandemic, it’s understandable that people turn more to virtual forms of socialization.

But you can never be careful enough, especially having in mind the following statistics.

15 . Catfishing on Facebook statistics state that a whopping 83 million profiles on this social media network are considered fake.

(Dating Advice)

Some similar statistics show that 97% of Facebook users claim to be female while they are not.

Spiking anonymity has left a space for people to pose as someone else.

Tip: If you come across a profile with a large number of friends and all it has is a few poor photos, most likely it’s fake.

16 . Besides social media, dating apps and sites are popular catfishing websites used to get access to potential victims.

(Norton)

Knowing that users are looking for a romantic partner, catfishers can easily charm their way into someone’s confidence. After that, the story usually continues with them requesting money, explicit material, or personal information they could use for fraud.

17 . Over 51% of people looking for online dates are already in a relationship or married.

(Dating Advice)

As you can see, it’s not uncommon for people to pose as single and look for a chance to cheat on their partners or lead a double life.

Catfishing Records in Different States

Online deception is not equally common in all territories, so you may encounter different data on how many people get catfished a year depending on the state.

We bring you the most important state-by-state differences regarding catfishing.

18 . In the US, Texas is the state with the most reported cases of catfishing.

(Best VPN)

Besides Texas, Florida, Pennsylvania, New York, and Washington made it into the top five states with catfishing cases.

However, this is catfishing data based on reported cases, not considering the number of inhabitants or the amounts of money lost. So Texas isn’t the most dangerous state when it comes to catfish dating sites or catfishing in general.

19 . Alaska had the biggest number of reported catfishing cases per capita.

(Best VPN)

In addition to that, the losses due to these scams in Alaska add up to over $1 million in 2018.

The other four states that come next are Washington, California, Wisconsin, and Nevada.

20 . States that have the least number of victims of catfishing per capita are Vermont and South Dakota.

(Best VPN)

Besides the low occurrence of catfishing, these states also have low general losses due to this type of fraud.

Montana, Mississippi, and South Carolina are considered quite safe when it comes to catfishing as well.

Wrap Up

After reading these catfishing statistics, you now have a better overview of the catfishing rates and scope. It’s more common than you may have assumed.

Therefore, it is very important to take precautions and do your best not to fall into the trap of an online con.

After meeting someone online, make sure that you:

  • Double-check their background;
  • Meet in person within a reasonable time frame;
  • Look the person up on social networks;
  • Do a reverse image search on Google.

Your instinct should take care of the rest.

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