Catfishing Statistics and Facts 2024 – Who Gets Catfished the Most?

How common is catfishing and how can you avoid it? What are some eye-opening catfishing statistics and facts? In which state are you most and least likely to be catfished? This article will answer all these queries.

Did you watch the 2010 documentary Catfish featuring Nev Shulman who thought he was chatting with the daughter of Angela, but it was Angela herself? That’s the essence of catfishing.

catfishing statistics facts

Key Catfishing Stats and Facts

  • 38% of catfishing happens on dating apps.
  • 30% of US adults think they have talked to a catfish online.
  • 40% of US adults said someone they know has catfished someone else.
  • People paid the most to catfishers through gift cards.
  • Cryptocurrency was the most costly medium of payment in 2022.
  • 41% of adults mentioned loneliness as their reason for catfishing.
  • Facebook took down 1.3 billion fake accounts in six months.
  • Oklahoma has the highest cost per victim at $70,288.
  • California lost $120 million in romance scams in 2020.
  • The FBI received 23,786 romance scams in 2020.
  • Free dating sites have 1 in 10 fake accounts.
  • 53% of Americans admit to fabricating their online profile.
  • 40% of men misinform about their position and salary.
  • Women mostly lie about their age online.
  • Catfishing is the 11th most popular type of cybercrime.
  • 24% of people create fake profiles of the opposite gender.
  • 43% of men were the target of catfishers on social media.
  • 33% of the catfishers did it because they weren’t happy with their physical looks.
  • 97% of the fake accounts appear as female.
  • 79% of monetary losses from catfishing come from women over 40
  • 15.8% of the monetary losses come from men over 40.
  • $547 million were lost in romance scams in 2021. It was an 80% increase from 2020.


Who Are the Most Common Perpetrators of Catfishing?

Catfishing is when someone uses images and information (often taken from other people’s social media accounts) to create a new identity online – sometimes using an individual’s entire identity as their own.

Men are more likely to catfish someone than women. So, if we reverse this, women are more likely to be catfished than men. However, this is just a single study. Other research and surveys show different results.

For instance, on social media, men are more likely to become victims, as another study indicates.

Anyway, the following are some of the catfishing statistics related to the perpetrators of the act.

  • 40% of men lie about their job and salary.
  • 20% of women post their older pictures.
  • Women more often lie about their age online.
  • 79% of losses from catfishing saw women over 40 accounting for them in 2014, in the US.
  • 15.8% of the losses come from men over 40.
  • 24% of people create fake profiles of the opposite gender.
  • 43% of men were the target of catfishers on social media.
  • 28% of women were the target of catfishers on social media.
  • 20% of the male victims fell for catfishing at least 5 times.


How Often Does Catfishing Happen?

Well, there are no specific numbers to show how many people are actually catfishing in the world. However, some other catfishing statistics give a sort of idea about the data.

The following list shows the number of people that have been victims of catfishing. This will paint a picture of the numbers game of catfishers.

  • The FBI received 23,786 catfishing scam reports in 2020.
  • Almost 83% of Facebook accounts are fake.
  • Facebook removed almost almost 1.3 billion fake accounts over 6 months.
  • Texas had the highest number of reported cases with 1,238 in 2020.
  • Florida was at 2nd with 1,191 cases.


Who are the Most Common Victims of Catfishing

Do you worry about yourself becoming a catfishing victim? Well, we all do, to be honest. Some studies, however, show that there might be people with a specific nature and personality type that are more likely to become victims. And, this is exactly what we will be looking at in this section.

What Type of People Get Catfished?

So, there are a dozen studies of catfishing statistics on the topic. Clinical Practice & Epidemiology in Mental Health made the job easy for us as they analyzed all of them and came up with some interesting results.

According to the studies, the following type of people get catfished or have a greater chance of being.

  • Romantics – The people who are more into romance and romanticizing relationships.
  • People with neuroticism personality trait – Their anxiety and pessimism play a part.
  • People who are looking to seek sensations.
  • Impulsive people.
  • People who have addictive personalities.
  • People who have codependent tendencies.
  • Women and middle-aged people.

Why Is Catfishing So Common

Since the beginning of social media and dating platforms, catfishing has been there. People all over the world, in thousands, get catfished every year. The staggering number of 23,786 victims in the United States speaks for itself.

Obviously, that isn’t the entire picture. Catfishing happens everywhere, not just in the US. The number adds up to over a hundred thousand each year.

People catfish because of revenge, depression, anxiety, loneliness, and other reasons. A study from The Conversation depicted 41% of the Catfishers did the act because they were lonely.

We would suggest doing your research when visiting any dating site as 1 in every 10 accounts is fake on dating apps. Similarly, over 80% of accounts on Facebook are fake. Make sure, you are not on the receiving end.

What Gender Gets Catfished the Most?

Who gets catfished more guys or girls? Surprisingly enough, men are more likely to get catfished on social media than women. However, a different study in their catfishing statistics shows that women get scammed more than men.

According to a research:

  • Women over 40 made up for 79% of losses from catfishing in 2014, in the US.
  • 15.8% of men over 40 accounted for losses.
  • 24% of people create a fake profile as opposite gender.

However, a different study about catfishing statistics shows that:

  • 43% of men on social media became the target of catfishers on social media.
  • 28% of women were the target of catfishers on social media.
  • 20% of the male victims fell for catfishing at least 5 times.


States With the Highest Catfishing Rates

You might wonder where you are most liable to become a catfishing victim. Fake profile users are everywhere in America. However, there are some states where the chance of being catfished is much higher. So, if you are a resident there, be careful when making friends online.

Below will be some catfishing statistics about the states in America. Furthermore, there will be a section related to worldwide facts and figures.

Which States Have the Highest Number of Catfishing Cases?

Where is catfishing most common? Here are states where the numbers of cases are the highest in the US.

California 3,110
New York1,103
North Carolina558

Now the following list shows where you are most likely to get catfished according to the 2019 report by the FBI.

  • Nevada
  • Wyoming
  • Washington
  • Utah
  • Alaska
  • New Hampshire
  • Minnesota
  • Florida
  • Oregon
  • Maryland

What State is Catfishing Least Likely to Happen?

The following states are the safest in terms of catfishing cybercrime. But still, there are a few cases anyway, though, they are much fewer in comparison to other states. This is according to the 2020 report by Social Catfish.

  • American Samoa
  • Minor Outlying Islands
  • Virgin Islands
  • Guam
  • South Dakota
  • Wyoming
  • Vermont
  • North Dakota
  • Maine
  • Delaware

Catfishing Records in Different States

  • California had the most number of catfishing cases reported in 2020. The number was 3,110.
  • Nevada is the state where you are most likely to get catfished. The other states include Wyoming, Washington, Utah, etc.
  • American Samoa is the safest place in America in terms of romance scams. It is followed by Minor Outlying Islands, the Virgin Islands, Guam, and others.
  • Only 1 case separates Florida and Texas. The former had 1,603 and the latter 1,602.
  • Oklahoma had the highest cost per victim at $70,288.
  • Maine had the lowest cost per victim at $3,820.

States That Have the Highest and lowest Cost Per Victim

The following states had the highest cost per victim in 2019, according to the FBI.

  • Oklahoma – $70,288 per victim
  • Montana – $68,102 per victim
  • Massachusetts – $62,018 per victim
  • California – $48,891 per victim
  • Louisiana – $44,859 per victim
  • Washington – $33,700 per victim
  • Florida – $31,916 per victim
  • Rhode Island – $29,300 per victim
  • Delaware – $28,007 per victim
  • Colorado – $25,382 per victim

The following states had the lowest cost per victim in 2019, according to the FBI.

  • Maine – $3,820 per victim
  • D.C. – $5,531 per victim
  • Wyoming – $7,279 per victim
  • North Dakota – $9,327 per victim
  • Kentucky – $9,955 per victim
  • Indiana – $11,282 per victim
  • Alaska – $11,947 per victim
  • Vermont – $12,463 per victim
  • Ohio – $12,562 per victim
  • Wisconsin – $12,617 per victim

Where Does Catfishing Happen the Most? (Worldwide)

Most romance scams take place in the US. But what about the other countries? Let’s take a look at where different countries stand in terms of catfishing cases in the following report by TechShielder.

  • Philippines – 1,315 cases
  • Nigeria – 1,129 cases
  • Canada – 1,054 cases
  • United Kingdom – 978 cases
  • Turkey – 683 cases
  • Ghana – 534 cases
  • Afghanistan – 485 cases
  • Germany – 361 cases
  • Morocco – 314 cases
  • Mexico – 259 cases

So, there is not any specific region where romance fraud happens the most. They happen globally. Therefore, it’s up to the individuals to not fall for them. Do follow the guidelines provided later in the article to save yourself.

Why Do People Catfish?

Why do people commit this heinous act, you might wonder? Well, there are multiple reasons according to catfishing statistics and facts.

In a recent survey by The Conversation, the following results were extracted after interviewing 27 catfishers online:

  • 41% of the catfishers cited loneliness as their reason for catfishing.
  • 1/3rd of the catfishers did it because they weren’t happy with their physical looks.
  • Some catfishers wanted to investigate their gender identity and sexual orientation, so they used false or fake identities.
  • Greater than 2/3rd of the catfishers gave “desire to escape” as their reason.
  • Due to their deceptive behavior, many people reported feeling guilty and self-hatred.
  • Greater than 1/3rd of the catfishers did it because they wanted to confess.
  • Over a third of participants said they wanted to confess to their victims.
  • Outside circumstance and practicality were the reason why a quarter of the catfishers did the act.

As obvious as it is, there is no specific reason why people catfish. It ranges from loneliness to dissatisfaction, to confession, and more.

What Do Catfishers Want?

Again, there aren’t one or two specific reasons why someone does catfishing. But to give you an idea, the following are the reasons why people are romantically scamming people according to catfishing statistics and facts.

To Harass the Victim

Harassing can be done in any form. Whether they will threaten you to do something, blackmail you, or even force you to some extent. Besides, they might target your friends and family too sometimes.

To Scam the Victim

Scamming is mostly done by asking for me. And the catfishing statistics show people do fall for it in large numbers. Consider the $547 million lost in 2021, in the US, to catfishing. Beware, do not send strangers any money until you are completely sure they are not scammers.

To Defame Someone

They make fake profiles of real people in order to tarnish their reputation and defame them, as a result.

To Take Revenge

Catfishers would make a fake profile and get back to their ex, mostly, to take revenge on them. It can be in the form of blackmail or threats. Moreover, they would try to dishonor you and damage your reputation.

What Do People Get From Catfishing

It depends on their psychological state of mind. Many would get happy doing the act, while many do it to take revenge on someone. Furthermore, they get money from the victims in heavy amounts. Imagine $70,288 per victim taken in Oklahoma in 2019. It is enough money to spend over a year.

Catfishers also do it for blackmailing, harassing, or threatening people. They will also lure the victims into sending inappropriate pictures and videos, which leads to blackmail.

Why is Catfishing Addictive?

People get addicted because they take catfishing as fun. They think they can be in charge and control the other person. Moreover, they can lure the victims into sending money, gift cards, personal details, pictures, videos, and whatnot. So, it is all for their gain.

In addition, they see it as a cure for their loneliness and depression. Clearly, all of the reasons why catfishing is addictive lead to the conclusion that people doing it don’t care about others. They are self-centered. Thus, you can certainly label them as egocentric.

Is Being Catfished Traumatic?

What are the dangers of catfishing? There are many consequences of romance scams. The victims can go into depression or even have suicidal thoughts at some stage. Moreover, they have feelings of fear, shock, anxiety, anger, embarrassment, and stress.

Additionally, romance scam victims can go through grieving, major depressive disorder, or even Post-traumatic Disorder known as PTSD.

And these are the catfishing statistics for all the victims, it doesn’t matter if they lose money or not. Indeed the trauma happens after investing so much time into someone and realizing they were scamming you all along.

Social Media Catfish Statistics

The following catfishing statistics for social media show some astonishing numbers. They surely will exceed your expectations.

  • 50% of catfishing scams happen on social media, in particular Facebook and Instagram, since 2019, according to FTC.
  • 83 million accounts on Facebook are fake.
  • 97% of the fake accounts appear as female.
  • 60% of the fake accounts appear as bisexual.
  • Fake profiles usually have more than six times the number of friends in comparison to real users.
  • Facebook is responsible for 21% of catfishing scams.
  • Facebook removed 1.3 billion fake accounts in six months.
  • Social Media accounts for more catfishing scams than dating sites.
  • $170 million were lost only in the first half of 2020 by romance scams, as reported by FTC.


How to Avoid Catfish Online

How do you tell if a guy is a catfish? Moving on from catfishing statistics and facts, here we will look at how you can avoid being catfished. There are several ways to evade the scam.
What are three signs that you are being Catfished?

Use Google’s Reverse Image Search

This is the first step to identifying if the person you are talking to is using original pictures or not. Simply save one or two of their photos from their profile and search Google with those images. If the images appear elsewhere, then surely the person is trying to impersonate someone else.

Social Media Profile Search

Ask for their social media account and see if they have many followers or a few. In case they have the latter amount, then it is a red flag. Similarly, they might not want to provide enough information to you for searching them on social media. This also raises questions.

Do Background Checks

Ask them for the relevant information and do a background check to see if the provided data is real or not and their previous record. Secondly, you will be able to identify if they have previously committed any crimes or not.

Do a Video Call or Meet in-Person

Facetime them or do a skype call to see if they are the same person you are talking to. Furthermore, you can arrange a meetup. If they avoid both of these, then there’s something fishy.

What are Red Flags for Catfishing?

What are red flags of being catfished? What are three signs that you are being catfished? You might be getting catfished and realizing it later.

For this reason, we will be highlighting some primary red flags for catfishing as the catfishing statistics show, so you know who is planning to scam you.

They Don’t Want To Video Call or Meet Up

Firstly, if they are saying no to video calls then there’s a problem. Secondly, if they deny meeting in person also, then you might want to be aware as they might be scammers.

Their Camera Doesn’t Work

In like manner, another lame excuse given by catfishers as the catfishing statistics show is saying our camera is broken or it doesn’t work. Of course, they do it to avoid video calls.

They Request You to Send Money

You want to be in your entire senses before sending anyone money over the internet. Catfishing statistics show that people have lost millions of dollars just to these scammers, consequently. Don’t send anything before you are completely sure that they are not catfishers.

They Don’t Have Many Pictures

Search their profile and see if they have more images than one. Furthermore, do the reverse image search to identify if these images have been used somewhere else before. Given that they do show up, I am afraid they might be catfishers.

You can also ask them to send their latest pictures and again do a reverse image search to see if they are real or not. If they decline, there might be trouble.

So, these were all the important and interesting catfishing statistics and facts. Unfortunately, people all around the world eventually become victims of this act. We hope you save yourself by following the guidelines given in this article.


The Morning Consult
The Conversation

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