Indiana seeing a rise in catfish scams

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FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) — The Hoosier State is seeing a surge in romance scams, this according to a study done by Social Catfish shows that Indiana is 15th on the list.

“About 80% of the people we talked to didn’t even know this was a possibility,” said President and CEO of Social Catfish David McClellan. “Indiana was the top 30% of all scams. It’s definitely not an award to be proud of.”

A romance scam is where a person trying to date you asks for money. In total, Americans lost a record $304 million to romance scammers last year. Part of the problem is the rise in people using dating apps which creates an unprecedented opportunity for scammers to prey on isolated victims during the pandemic.

The study found several new trends. People between the ages of 45-65 are normally the ones that fall for the scams. However, the study found that that age group was less likely to fall for the scam due to education. Those more likely to fall for the scams are between the ages of 18 to 39.

“You have to understand and be careful that anybody can pretend to be whoever they want to be online,” McClellan said. “So if you don’t take a step back and kind of use your head we are going to start seeing more and more of this happen. That’s something interesting those age demographics have actually tripled over the last three years.”

TIPS TO AVOID BEING CATFISHED

  • Never give money or personal information: Do not give anyone you meet online money, no matter the reason. Do not even give basic information which scammers use to identity fraud, get access to your banks and steal your money.
  • Take things slow: If you like someone online, do not let them rush you. Nigerian romance scammers will be pushy about falling in love right away. If that is the case, know something is not right.
  • Meet or video chat: Do not form a relationship with someone who will not video chat with you or meet you in person. A common scam is to say they cannot meet because they work overseas or are in the military stationed elsewhere, these are big red flags.
  • Reverse search: Scammers steal photos from good-looking people on social media and pretend to be them. Use reverse search platforms that can confirm the identity of someone using a photo, email or phone number.
  • Be aware on all platforms: Scammers are not just on dating apps, they are contacting people in 2021 on Twitter, Facebook and even LinkedIn. Be careful on all platforms.

To learn more about the study click here.

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