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Study Shows Arkansas Loses Millions In 3 Common Online Scams

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A reformed Nigerian romance scammer who works for Social Catfish is available for interview.

A new study shows Arkansas ranks No. 42 in the nation with 159 victims losing $2.4 million to romance scams in 2023. Each victim lost an average of $14,953.

Americans lost $1.14 billion to romance scams last year, marking the first time more than $1 billion was stolen in back-to-back years. Top threats in 2024 are driven by artificial intelligence, deepfake videos, Crypto – the No. 1 payment method accounting for 33% of losses, and celebrity scams.

Social Catfish today released a study on the State of Romance Scams in 2024 after analyzing FBI IC3 and FTC data released in 2024, data from 10 million reverse search users on its website, and trends from Catfished — the company’s weekly YouTube show.

The five states that lost the most money are California ($100.6M), Florida ($62.9M), Texas ($54.1M), New York ($30.2M), and Arizona ($22.5M). The five states that saw the biggest increase in losses year-over-year: Vermont (171%), Rhode Island (134%), Oregon (134%), Maine (116%), and Missouri (108%).

3 Romance Scams to Avoid in 2024:

  1. Deepfake Video Scams: On a recent episode of Catfished, a truck driver from New Mexico sent money to a scammer who used videos of an attractive woman. Upon further review, her makeup and facial expression never changed and were deepfake videos.

    How to Avoid: Look for unnatural blinking, inconsistent skin tone, body parts blending into each other, words not matching mouth movements, and no variance in facial expressions.

  2. Crypto Romance Scams: Once trust is established, the scammer presents a crypto investment guaranteeing huge returns using a fake crypto exchange that actually puts the money in the criminal’s crypto wallet.

    How to Avoid: Perform a reverse image search to verify their identity. Never send crypto to anyone you have not met in person. Only use known exchanges such as Binance.

  3. Celebrity Romance Scams: On recent episodes of Catfished, victims lost money to fake versions of Stranger Things actor Dacre Montgomery, Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg, and Secretary of NATO Jens Stoltenberg.

    How to Avoid: If someone rich and famous needs money from a stranger online, it is a scam. Fake celebrity social media accounts have few followers and no blue check marks.

The study also includes the 100 most common photos used in romance scams in 2024 as well as a leaked Nigerian scammer training manual.

Greg Geary

Greg Geary (84)

Morning Drive on-air personality and news director for KWCK 99-9 Searcy, AR at ArkansasRadio.com.

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