Internet catfishing is where a person creates a fake online persona, identity, or profile with the intent to deceive others into establishing an emotional relationship.
These scammers often use stolen personal information, photos, and videos when they create fake profiles on social media outlets, dating sites, and other venues.
I this article, we will be sharing important Internet catfishing statistics everyone should know.
It’s crucial to spread awareness of catfishing and how to recognize it and protect yourself from this scam.
We will discuss some demographics and data that will reveal the impact on society and catfishing victims.
Catfishing scammers will often manipulate their target to send them gifts, gift cards, or money to help them with a made-up tragic event or they will blackmail or threaten their victims.
This behavior is known to be devastating to those victimized by catfishing emotionally, financially, and sometimes even physically.
Let’s discuss catfishing and how it impacts our world.
- The United States had more than 20,000 reported catfishing cases in 2020.
- 13% of American adults have reported being definitely catfished.
- 85% of all catfishing fraud starts on Facebook.
- More than 200,000 people in Britain reported catfishing on dating apps in 2019.
- Romance catfishing in Australia increased by 50% between 2018 and 2019.
- 63% of catfishing victims say the scammer impersonated another person.
- Most instances of catfishing are reported by those aged 30 to 39.
Top Internet Catfishing Statistics in 2024
1. The Philippines Accounted for 1,315 Reported Catfishing Scams in 2020.
In terms of reported catfishing scams across the globe, the Philippines ranked number one with 1,315 reported cases in 2020.
This data doesn’t include any instances reported in the United States.
Nigeria reported 1,129 cases of catfishing scams making it second across the globe not including instances in the United States.
2. The United States Experienced More than 20,000 Reported Catfishing Cases in 2020.
Data shows that the FBI reported over 20,000 catfishing cases in the United States in 2020 alone.
This figure is significantly higher than in any other country in the world.
Keep in mind that we can only provide statistics about catfishing from cases that have been reported.
Otherwise, there is no data regarding unreported instances.
3. More than 200,000 People in Britain Reported Catfishing on Dating Apps in 2019.
Britain had a large share of catfishing reports with 200,000 people reporting this scam in 2019.
This data doesn’t include instances that occurred via social media apps or sites.
This figure solely includes catfishing that occurred on dating apps in Britain.
4. Romance Catfishing in Australia Increased by 50% Between 2018 and 2019.
In Australia, romance scams saw an increase of 50% between 2018 and 2019 of which most were from catfishing.
This data includes romance scams across social media, dating sites, and other online venues where it was reported in Australia.
5. The United Kingdom Incurred the Highest Costs in Romance Catfishing Cases at £24 Million.
The United Kingdom reported the highest costs in reported romance-based catfishing instances at £24 million, which represents over $29 million (USD).
In 2020 alone, the United Kingdom reported 978 catfishing cases across all types of this scam with an average cost of £25,112 per victim. In the U.S. that would represent $30,505.05.
6. Alaska, USA Has the Highest per Capita Catfishing Victims at 11.9 per 100,000 People.
In terms of states in the U.S., Alaska had the highest per capita catfishing victims in 2021 at 11.9 per 100,000 residents.
It tops the whole country in per capita catfishing scams. Nevada comes in a close second with 11.2 out of 100,000 residents.
(All About Cookies)
7. Louisiana, USA Ranks First in The Lowest per Capita Instances of Catfishing at 3.8 per 100,000 People.
We know that Alaska in the United States has the highest per capita rate of catfishing in the nation.
At the lower end, Louisiana is the state with the lowest per capita instances of catfishing at 3.8 per 100,000 residents in the state.
Mississippi has the second lowest at 4.3 per 100,000 people.
(All About Cookies)
8. 63% of Catfishing Victims Say the Scammer Impersonated Another Person.
Within the social media world, 63% of catfishing victims said that their scammer impersonated someone else.
This is a common form of catfishing in today’s digital world used to deceive others and coerce them into giving them money or gifts.
This statistic should show us the importance of being vigilant on social media.
9. Texas, USA Has the Highest Number of Cases of Catfishing in The U.S. with 1,238 as Of 2018.
In contrast to the per capita figure of catfishing cases, Texas reported the greatest number of cases at 1,238 overall in 2018.
Following closely behind Texas, Florida reported 1,191 cases and New York reported over 1,000 cases along with Washington and Pennsylvania.
At the lower end, Vermont reported 25 cases of catfishing.
10. Since 2019, Most Instances of Catfishing Are Reported by Those Aged 30 to 39.
The age demographic that most often reports catfishing incidents falls among those aged 30 to 39.
While anyone of any age can be targeted and victimized by catfishing scams, the 30 to 39 age group tends to report these instances more than any other age group.
(All About Cookies)
11. The Age Group that Loses the Most Money to Catfishing Scams Is the 60-To-69-Year-Old Demographic.
In terms of losing the most money, people between 60 and 69 years old lose the most money to catfishing fraud.
Between 2019 and 2022, this age group reportedly lost over $360 million (USD) in those four years alone.
This is also across all forms of catfishing scams.
(All About Cookies)
12. 52% of People Are Susceptible to Valentine’s Day Catfishing.
Valentine’s Day tends to be the most targeted day for catfishers with 52% of people getting defrauded by catfishers on this day.
In a 2020 ESET Digital Security study, over half of the respondents said they were victimized by romance catfishing fraud on Valentine’s Day.
We mentioned before that loneliness is one of the emotions targeted by catfishing scammers.
13. 63.2% of Reported Catfishing Cases on The Globe Happen to Women.
Women are the most common targets for romance catfishing scams all over the world.
In fact, globally, 63.2% of all reported romance-based catfishing fraud cases have been reported by women.
This doesn’t negate the fact that men are also targeted by catfishers and that women can also be the scammer, but this is a significant global figure regarding catfishing.
14. 51% of Online Dating Users Posing as Single Are in A Relationship.
Dating apps like Tinder are intended to help people find a good match for them, but not all dating apps or sites consist of honest members.
Tinder statistics show that 42% of their user base already have a partner, 30% are currently married, and 12% are in a relationship.
Also, 51% of dating site users who claim to be single are already in a relationship.
Moreover, statistics show that 10% of all dating site profiles are fake and used for catfishing.
15. 61% of “Swipe Matchmaking” Frauds Are Started on Dating Sites as Catfishing.
Swiping left or right on a dating app either helps you accept a match or decline a match.
However, 61% of swipe matchmaking scams on dating sites start out as catfishing.
This alarming data tells us to what extent catfishers will go to get your money, blackmail you, or cause you physical or emotional stress.
Not only do you need to be careful who you engage with on social media, but also popular dating sites.
16. 83% of Facebook Profiles Are Fake.
One survey revealed that 83% of Facebook profiles are fake accounts.
While Facebook doubled down and removed billions of fake accounts in 2020 and 2021, there are still more being created to use for catfishing even today.
Facebook also accounts for 21% of all catfishing victims.
Be aware of who you’re engaging with on Facebook, Instagram, and other social media platforms/apps.
17. 85% of All Catfishing Fraud Starts on Facebook.
Not only are 83% of Facebook profiles fake, but 85% of catfishing frauds start on the social platform/app.
It’s no surprise that catfishers target Facebook for their scams since they have an audience of over 3 billion users at their fingertips.
18. In The U.S. Catfishing Fraud Cost an Average of $132.5 Million per Quarter in 2022.
Data from 2022 revealed that catfishing scams cost an average of $132.5 million (USD) each quarter in 2022.
This figure is a rise of 11.2% from the reported figures in 2021.
Furthermore, victims aged 70 and older lost an average of $30,000 (USD) due to catfishing scams in 2022.
That’s 8 times more than the losses of victims 30 years old and younger.
(All About Cookies)
19. 53% of American Survey Respondents Admitted to Lying on Their Dating Profile.
In 2016, Psychology Today conducted a survey among 1,000 online daters in the United Kingdom and the United States.
A whopping 53% admitted to lying on their online dating profiles.
While most of these lies aren’t related specifically to catfishing, it does tell us a lot about online dating users.
Most of the lies were exaggerations or lies about age, weight, or height.
(Dating Advice, Psychology Today)
20. In The U.K. and Australia, More than Half of Women Have Fallen Victim to Catfishing on Dating Sites.
More than 50% of women in Australia and the United Kingdom have been victimized by romance catfishing scams.
This data reveals that all forms of catfishing occur all over the globe.
Women are especially targted in romance scams on dating sites and social media, though this data is solely related to dating sites.
What Is Catfishing?
Catfishing involves a person creating a fake identity online on social media sites, dating sites, and other forum sites.
They are usually scammers looking to establish emotional connections for financial gain.
They often try to coerce their victims into giving them money, gift cards, or other gifts based on lies.
Catfishing scammers use stolen information, images, and videos to create their online profiles and personas.
They mostly target vulnerable people who are looking for love or companionship, but anyone can experience catfishing.
How Many People Experience Catfishing Each Year?
There is no way to know the exact number of people who get catfished each year since many instances are never reported.
However, in 2020 the FBI reported over 20,000 catfishing scams that cost Americans more than $600 million (USD).
Moreover, this figure increased by 358% in 2021. This is not a victimless prank.
Who Is Most Victimized by Catfishing?
Anyone can be targeted and/or victimized by a catfishing scam.
However, there are certain groups of people who are at higher risk than others.
• Young adults
• New people on online dating sites
• People seeking companionship or love
• People who feel isolated or lonely
• People who are most vulnerable to manipulation
One way that catfishers find their next targets is on social media where people post their innermost feelings.
That said, one way to prevent being targeted is to be careful about what you share on Facebook, Instagram, and other social sites.
What Are the Most Common Forms of Catfishing Scams?
We scoured the internet to find these common types of catfishing scams to watch out for online:
• Romance Scams: Catfishers are known to create fake profiles on dating sites and social media sites to prey on users on these platforms who are seeking love and companionship.
This is where they gain their target’s trust just before asking them to send money or gifts.
• Military Scams: Catfishers will often impersonate military members to earn trust faster. Plus, they use this to get sympathy from their targets.
Within days of engaging, they will have earned enough trust to ask for money to help with travel costs, medical expenses, or other expenses.
• Investment Scams: Investment catfishers make promises of high returns on investments when in fact, tehey are stealing your money.
• Blackmail Scams: Catfishers who pose as blackmailers will threaten to expose your secrets or embarrassing images of you online unless you give them money.
How Do You Know if You’re Being Catfished and What Should You Do About It?
We found these tips for recognizing and protecting yourself from becoming a catfishing victim:
• Be cautious about what you post on social media and how much information you share. Never post your personal information like your address, location, phone number, or any financial information on social media, dating sites, or forums.
• Be leery about people who appear to be too good to be true.
• Research any profile that seems suspicious to you and try to find more about them online. One way to do this is via reverse image search.
• Be careful about sending money or gifts to anyone you don’t know online. If you’re asked for money, gifts, or gift cards by someone you just met online, don’t do it. It’s likely a scam.
We also found resources you need for it you have been catfished:
• Report the catfisher to the FBI or local law enforcement agencies. Also screenshot or share messages from your catfisher and report it to the social media site or dating site where it happened.
• Block the catfisher from being able to contact you via email, phone call, social media, etc.
• Change all your online passwords to avoid identity theft.
• Talk to a professional counselor or therapist to help you process being catfished and find ways to better accept and cope with what happened.
You should see the significance and dangers of catfishing from the data revealed in this article.
Have you ever been a victim of catfishing, or have you ever known someone who has lost money because of a catfisher?
Many of us do at least know someone who has been victimized by this form of fraud.
We should all see the reasons why to spread awareness and to report catfishing whenever we know about it.
So, if you take away anything from these statistics and information, it should be that you need to be careful about what you share on dating sites, social media, and other online venues.
Also, watch for the signs of catfishing before you engage.
We hope that you have found these Internet catfishing statistics interesting and useful.
Please remember to report catfishing to the proper authorities and platforms where it occurred.
This can help us stamp out the problem.