Virginians are among the most catfished victims in the country, according to a new study by an online dating investigation service.
The Commonwealth has the seventh most catfish victims by state, according to SocialCatfish.com.
Catfishing is when someone fakes an online identity to scam victims for money, romance or physical harm. These online relationships can last for months or even years. Catfishing victims increased by 50% in 2018 compared to three years ago, despite the rise of internet awareness on the topic.
The list was compiled using 2018 FBI data ranking the states with the highest reported catfish victims.
Virginia ranked seventh in the country with 480 reported victims.
The 10 states with the most victims are: California (2,105), Texas (1,238), Florida (1,191), New York (782), Pennsylvania (577), Washington (493), Virginia (480), Michigan (461), Illinois (463), North Carolina (432).
Vermont reported the fewest victims of all 50 states with just 25 cases.
5 Signs You Are Being Catfished:
- If they ask for money: This may sound so obvious, but if the online friend or romantic interest whom you have never met asks you to send money or provide your bank information, you are being catfished.
- If they can’t meet in person: If the person strings you along without meeting in person. They may even eventually agree to a day or time but have an “emergency” that day such as a cancelled flight or a medical issue.
- If they are stationed overseas: If they claim to be stationed overseas or working on an oil as an excuse for not meeting.
- If they can’t video chat: If the person refuses to video chat ever.
- If they seem to good to be true: Some people who catfish feel bad about themselves and take on the online persona of a model or successful businessperson and the like.