DMV 'catfishing' victims scammed out of over $43M in 2021

Romance scammers take to dating apps and social media sites around Valentine's Day to take advantage of people looking for connections this time of year. 

A new report from Social Catfish found that in 2021, romance scam victims in the U.S. lost a record $547 million. California saw the highest number of victims at over 3,000. But Virginia ranked 9th on the list of most "catfished" states in America, with over 600 victims who lost $22 million. Maryland wasn't far behind, with a total of $20,403,018 lost. 

D.C. singles love to complain about dating in the District, but D.C. ranked at the bottom of the list, with only 60 victims in 2021 – and $800,000 lost to romance scammers. 

Social Catfish recommends keeping these signs in mind to tell if you are being catfished

  • If they seem too good to be true, they probably are. "Scammers steal photos of very attractive and successful looking people and create fake online accounts to lure you in," says Social Catfish, which recommends performing a reverse image search to see if their photo is real, or stolen from somewhere else.
  • Be wary if they fall in love before meeting you in person. Try video chatting and meeting in person to see if they're real, or just scamming you.
  • If they ask for money, crypto or gift cards, that's a red flag. Never give money to anyone you meet online.