A study released on Monday found that New York ranks No. 15 in the nation for most money lost to romance scams per capita.
Federal Trade Commission (FTC) data shows U.S. residents lost a record $547 million to romance scams in 2021.
The study from SocialCatfish.com, which broke down the FTC’s data by state, showed New Yorkers seeking love online lost $285,019 per 100,000 residents last year. Overall, New York had 1,168 victims report losses of over $57.5 million in 2021.
Related: Social Security: What to do if you get a phone call about your SSN or account
Data by state
Social Catfish’s study ‘States Hardest Hit by Romance Scams‘ used population-adjusted data from the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center and the FTC to determine the states most impacted by romance scams in 2021.
North Dakota ranked No. 1 with a $1,558,064 loss per 100,000 residents. On the east coast, the hardest hit state was Rhode Island with a $411,857 loss per 100,000 residents.
You can find a full list of each of the 50 states’ loss per capita on the Social Catfish website.
Related: $100,000 — gone in months through ‘sweetheart’ scams
Tips to avoid online romance scams
Social Catfish offered the following tips to avoid three common types of online romance scams:
- ‘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.
- ‘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 gain the victim’s 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 Crypto.com, Coinbase and PayPal.
- 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 FBI and FTC using the agencies’ online complaint portals.
Related: 11 scammer charged with money laundering and other crimes after targeting elderly with romance schemes
Get the latest headlines delivered to your inbox each morning. Sign up for our Morning Edition to start your day. FL1 on the Go! Download the free FingerLakes1.com App for Android (All Android Devices) or iOS (iPhone, iPad).