Beware: Online Dating Scam Statistics That Will Shock You
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Is your online love interest real or not? These statistics will help you know.
The Federal Trade Commission said there were $1.3 billion in losses from romance scams in the last 5 years. There was an 80% increase from 2021 to 2020.
These numbers only mean that online dating scams are working.
A romance or online dating scam is a scheme where scammers convince a victim into a romantic relationship. Once a person is committed to them, these cybercriminals will typically ask you to send them money or gifts.
Continue reading to learn more about online dating scam statistics you should know today.
- 52% of people are more vulnerable to getting scammed every Valentine’s Day.
- Romance scam is one of the largest scam types, with $304 million in losses.
- Around 30% of online dating users were catfished within a year.
- Users aged 65 and above will most likely be romance scam victims.
- Females have more romance scam reports (50.3%) than males.
- 40% of romance scam victims said it started from their social media.
How Many People Are Victims Of Online Dating Scams Per Year?
In 2022, the FBI received almost 20,000 reports on romance scams. Online romance scammers often use fake identities. In today’s digital era, creating or stealing identities to lure potential targets is easier.
Victims of online dating scams can experience financial and psychological distress, which can be alarming.
Below are a few pieces of data to show the shocking reality of online romance scams. Read on.
Overview Of Online Dating Scam Statistics
1 in 10 Americans use dating apps. Since scammers are known to use everything for their benefit (even love or romance), they usually flock to dating apps. They create fake dating profiles, get the victim’s trust, and ask to send them money.
FTC said each online romance scam victim’s median loss amounted to $2,400 in 2021. This amount is beyond the American minimum monthly wage.
This data exhibits the impact of online dating scams on victims financially. To know more about other statistics, here is an overview:
- 52% of people are more prone to getting scammed every Valentine’s Day.
(ESET Digital Security)
More than half of the respondents of the 2020 ESET study became victims of romance scammers during Valentine’s Day.
The loneliness during the holiday significantly impacts many people. Dating app users can be anxious to find someone to be with during the occasion. Scammers will take advantage of this opportunity to entice the victim.
- Online dating scams are one of the largest scam types in the US — with $304 million in losses.
Along with phishing and investment scams, online dating scam is one of the largest scam types in the US. In 2019, this scam type garnered $201 million worth of losses.
This number increased to almost 50% in 2022 when the reports saw a $304 million loss.
- 27% of online dating users admitted that they experienced catfishing within a year.
Catfishing is when your potential love interest online uses a fake persona. According to a UK Finance study, 27% of their respondents experienced being catfished.
Statistics On Online Dating Scam Demographics
Every dating app user can be a victim of romance scammers. However, there are particular age groups, gender, and race that are more prone to this threat.
This part will let you know the demographics of the victims of online dating scams:
- Over 49,000 romance scam reports were from aged 65 and above.
Scamwatch looked into thousands of romance scam reports from many dating app users worldwide in 2022. The majority of the reports were from people over 65 years old.
Lack of technical knowledge can be a factor in why the number of victims in this age group continues to increase yearly. The complete summary is in the table below:
|Age Group||Number of Reports||Losses|
|Over 65 years old||49,154||$120,733,941|
|55 to 64 years old||32,365||$99,580,899|
|45 to 54 years old||32,639||$88,372,465|
|35 to 44 years old||32,735||$91,240,378|
|25 to 34 years old||27,285||$57,528,930|
|18 to 24 years old||10,507||$15,994,305|
|18 years old and below||1,550||$361,976|
- Females reported more online romance scams than males, but men lost more money.
No gender is safe from online dating scammers. However, women filed more romance scam reports, with 50.3% or 120,415. On the other hand, men only have 47.2% or 112,974. The remaining percentage came from Gender X.
In terms of the total amount lost, men have a higher amount. They lost 47.9% or $272,101,329. Meanwhile, the female gender has only 40.7% or $231,504,833.
- Over 50% of women are falling into online dating scammers in Australia and the United Kingdom.
Romance scammers are all over the world. Women in Australia and the United Kingdom are likelier to fall into online dating scammers. The statistics are as follows:
The numbers show how women in these two countries are more inclined to trust romance scammers.
Online Dating Scam Trends
Scammers cope with digital changes, too. They study new dating apps or trending topics to know what matters people are interested in and how the platforms work.
This part will show you some romance scam trends that will save you from breaking your heart with your fake romantic partner on online dating.
- In 2022, cryptocurrency reported the largest loss on romance scams, with 34%.
If a scammer senses that you trust them, this will be the time they will ask you to send them money. In 2022, cryptocurrency reported the most significant dollar loss on romance scams, with 34%.
Other rates from different payment methods are:
- Other payment methods – 28%
- Bank Transfer or Payment – 27%
- Gift cards – 7%
- Payment application or service – 3%
- 40% of romance scam victims who lost money said it started from their social media.
The platform with the most online dating scam victims is social media, with 40%. At the same time, 19% lost their money through a website or an application.
These social media platforms include Snapchat, Google Chat, and WhatsApp.
- 24% of online dating scammers’ favorite lie is “I am (or a family member is) sick, hurt, or in jail.”
FTC identified the most common lies that romance scammers say. The top-most favorite lie is ‘“My family member is (or I am) sick, hurt, or in jail.” Other common lies detected are:
- “I can teach you how to invest.” – 18%
- “I’m in the military far away.” – 18%
- “I need help with an important delivery.” – 18%
- “We’ve never met, but let’s talk about marriage.” – 12%
- “I’ve come into some money or gold.” – 7%
- “I’m on an oil rig or ship.” – 6%
- “You can totally trust me with your private pictures.” – 3%
Online dating scams are a genuine concern. The numbers will continue to rise as more cybercriminals find more accessible personal information to steal and use.
People in dating apps can be vulnerable. Romance scammers take advantage of this since they know many people are willing to build and commit to a relationship.
However, you should remember that staying vigilant when using dating apps and websites is necessary. If your potential love interest asks you to send them money, consider that a red flag.