I admit I wasn’t fair with the title. Personally I have nothing against the Land of the Midnight Sun and the fine people who inhabit it. It’s just the thing that proportionally the most online dating scams originate from Alaska.
The interest for online dating sites peaks especially before the holiday season. Who does not want to spend the best part of the year in steaming romance with someone new in our lives? Except ’catfish’ scammers count on our natural desire of happiness. Usually it starts with fake profile with a decorative picture and an intriguing introduction on a dating site, and it ends with – if the target does not hit the breaks at a red flag – a hapless victim being ripped off with a great deal of money.
According to the FBI, the amount of catfish or phishing scams is so high in the U.S. that it could be treated as a sector of its own. Phishing scams have caught the attention of the Federal Trade Commission and Better Business Bureau. Reported scams accounted for $1 billion in the last three years, $324 million last year. The real number should be much higher considering that the victims often feel too embarrassed about themselves to turn to the authorities.
The internet service provider comparison site HighSpeedInternet.com refers to the federal agency in the recent ’When Love Bites’ report. In relative terms, Alaska has the highest number of dating scam cases, following most likely states in descending order are Nevada, Wisconsin, New Mexico and Colorado.
In absolute terms, California has the highest number of reported cases, which is not surprising considering the size of the population. But catfishers caught the most money, almost $48,000 per incident, in North Carolina. In this respect, Vermont is the best behaving state with only 25 reported victims.
A few iron rules before trying your luck to find happiness online. Stick with the communication on the dating site, avoid texting and Messenger. Keep your personal information minimal on social media because the catfisher will vet you anyhow. Never ever share personal information that could be connected with passwords or account security questions (like the mother’s maiden name and such). And the most important of all, do not send money to someone you haven’t met in person yet. Don’t forget, if it’s too good to be true, then it probably is.