May 19, 2024

Not all that glitters is gold on the internet’s modern matchmaking platforms. Catfishing – the act of creating a false persona online, particularly for romantic gain – has surged in recent years, leaving broken hearts and a trail of deception in its wake. According to 2020 data, catfishing incidents increased by a whopping 33% between 2018 and 2020. Of these reported cases, 40% originated on dating apps like Hinge, Match, and Plenty of Fish. While catfishing may stem from boredom or cravings for attention rather than malice, its effects can be deeply damaging.

The currents of isolation, longing for intimacy, and technological advancements have propelled catfishing into dangerous new waters. We must be vigilant stewards of our deepest desires in the digital realm, where things are not always as they appear. This page unveils alarming catfishing statistics everyone must know. Let’s dive in.

What is Catfishing

What is Catfishing?

The theory of catfishing is drawn from a different stream of online crimes. The act is prevalent based on the significant spread of technology, meet-up sites, and social media. The world is turning digital, and it’s no news that people are constantly searching for meaningful relationships online. Sometimes, the answers they seek come, but in worse cases, they expose them to catfishers. 

However, since there can’t be any limitations on the growth of the internet and how much people connect, it can be tricky to get rid of this risk. Nevertheless, there are a few effective practices to aid the process. This 190+ web catfishing statistics has a lot to unveil.

What are Catfishers Seeking?

What are Catfishers Seeking

There is no tangible reason why a person might want to indulge in catfishing, yet many individuals dive into the act. So, what are catfishers seeking? Here are some reasons why any perpetrator would like to get involved in catfishing.

To Harass Their Victim

There are various ways by which catfishers harass their victims. They might coerce their victims into doing something via blackmail or even use some force over the internet.

To Defame the Victim

Scammers create fake accounts of real people, intending to destroy and discredit their reputations. 

For Revenge

In some situations, scammers create a fake profile to take revenge on an ex-romantic partner. This could be through various forms of blackmail or threats. They might try to damage your reputation or dishonor you

To Defraud Their Victim

Catfishers often request money from their victims through means, who usually fall for their tactics. For example, in 2021, in the United States, individuals lost $547 million to catfish scams.

General Catfishing Statistics

General Catfishing Statistics

These statistics aim to show how persistent the spread of catfishing is becoming and the depth of its roots worldwide. However, for accurate facts and pointers, the United States is a crucial example for most scenarios. It is also worth noting that the possibility of finding out you’re a victim of catfishing is high compared to the catfisher’s revealing their true identity.

This suggests that these men had a difficult time abstaining from online communication but constantly fell into the hands of the felons. It also implies that while some learned their lessons after the first or second time, others didn’t. 

2. One Out of Five Millennials has Communicated With a Catfisher Online.

This is up to 20% of this category, which is relatively high compared to other generations of individuals. Gen Z is the closest to this number, reaching 18%, and baby boomers are the least at 6%

3. In 2022, 47% of US-based Adults Were Aware of Catfishing.

This shows the amount of exposure in 2022 and how many adult Americans have been directly involved. Although 35% were still ignorant of what catfishers do, most went to those with knowledge, forcing the verdict that catfishing was a big issue. 

4. 22% of Victims Have Sent Adult-rated Photos to Catfishers.

This percentage was drafted after a known catfisher opened up about using adult-rated pictures in businesses. The images were usually sent and collected as a gesture of love, loyalty, admiration, etc. Then, they are sold to people who desire them, after which the sender may regret their actions. 

5. 55% of Catfishing Perpetrators Felt No Remorse for Their Actions.

In most cases, they enjoyed the act, and some would do it again if they had the chance. This leads investigators to believe that their victims could be specifically targeted.

Catfishing Statistics: Demographics

Demographics stats

6. Women are Often Susceptible to Distorting Their Age Online.

The case here is accurate, as women tend to be more attractive when seen as younger. So, the first instinct is to modify their age to drive companions in search of younger women before solidifying interest. 

7. Men are the Most Common Targets of Catfishers on Social Media, Accounting for 43% of Victims.

Men would be more likely to fall, as these catfishers use their most significant weaknesses to get them to spill information. Although there may be other reasons, research would confirm that a man is more susceptible to a woman demanding something from him than vice versa. 

8. In 2014, 79% of Women With Financial Losses Due to Catfishing Were Over 40 in the United States.

Above 40, most women find themselves at different points in their life. Some may be unmarried, searching for spouses; others could be single moms, divorced, and wanting a relationship. They could be widows with a need for companionship or a friend. At this point, they are easily accessible and vulnerable to falling for catfishing antics. 

9. 15.8% of Those Losses Came From Men Over 40.

The percentage is lower in the same age range for men, as most men find their stability and experience around this range. They become more logical and try to own up to their immediate responsibilities

10. Oklahoma Reported the Highest Cash Loss Per Victim, Averaging $70,288.

This doesn’t go anywhere to say that Oklahoma has the most significant spenders; rather, catfishers would constantly milk a person until they were completely drained. In this case, they either continued till their target sum was achieved or the victim was suspected

11. 20% of Women Use Outdated Pictures of Themselves.

In line with women reducing their age on social platforms to look younger, they also upload obsolete photos. This aligns with their age range and makes them more appealing to the opposite gender.  

12. 40% of Men Have Been Known to Falsify Their Earnings and Occupations.

Men do this to look the part or back up their false stories since there is the fact that women are tuned by what they hear, falsifying earnings stories, occupations, and even geographical locations.

13. Individuals Who Romanticize Relationships are Most Prone to Catfishing Attacks.

Most successful catfishing attacks are based on a romantic relationship where feelings have taken control of the mindset of both parties. In those cases, the logical part of thoughts has been romanticized.  

14. In the United States, Roughly 20,000 Individuals Become Catfishing Victims Yearly.

This relatively high number shows how much people fall prey to such online practices. In 2020, the percentage of victims summed up to about 41%.

Catfish Statistics: Location

Location stats

15. The Philippines Recorded the Largest Catfishing Incidents, With an Average of £2,506 (or $3,060) Per Trade.

This implies that the Philippines has suffered the most attacks and severe losses. However, the impact of catfishing is quite powerful in other regions. 

16. In 2020, Nigeria Ranked the Second-largest Number of Catfishing Scams, With 1,129 Reports.

With a population of approximately 216 million, Nigeria is a hotbed of catfishing activities. With its third-world status, this activity is rising rapidly. 

17. American Samoa Ranked the State With the Least Possibility of Having a Catfishing Cybercrime.

American Samoa is least likely to record catfishing cybercrime. This is likely due to its low population of approximately 45,000 people

18. Minor Outlying Islands, Virgin Islands, and Guam Follow After American Samoa on the List of Areas With Minimal Catfish Activities.

These regions are mostly island areas that serve as tourist attractions. Notably, catfish activities are quite minimal in these areas.

19. In 2020, Texas Reported the Highest Number of Fake Social Media Accounts.

Texas reported the highest number of fake accounts, with 1,238 incidents proving the activity of scammers

20. 4% of US-based Users Admitted Having at Least Four Fake Social Media Accounts to Add to Their Original Ones.

In other words, some people in the US create multiple fake profiles on social media to go along with their genuine accounts. This could be for various reasons, such as pretending to be someone else or for other purposes.

21. Maine Recorded the Lowest Average Losses From Romance Scams in 2021.

On average, people in Maine lost less money to these types of scams than people in other states. Romance scams involve tricking people into romantic relationships to steal money from them, and it appears that in 2021, Maine had the lowest average losses in such scams among all the states in the US.

22. North Dakota Experienced the Highest Average Losses for Each Romance Scam.

Romance scams involve deceiving individuals in the context of a romantic relationship to steal their money, and it seems that North Dakota had the highest average losses in these types of scams among all the states in the US.

23. Rhode Island Followed, Averaging $62,773 in Losses.

After North Dakota, Rhode Island had the second-highest average amount of money lost to scams. On average, people in Rhode Island lost about $62,773 to these types of scams. So, while North Dakota had the highest losses, Rhode Island came next.

24. The UK has the Largest Cost of Romance Scams, Amounting to £24 Million.

This means that people in the UK lost a substantial amount of money to these deceitful romance scams.

Catfishing Statistics: Reasons Why People Catfish

Reasons Why People Catfish

25. 41% of Catfishers Indulge in the Act Mainly Out of Loneliness.

Catfishers are people who pretend to be someone else online, and this statistic suggests that a significant portion of them do it because they’re experiencing strong feelings of loneliness. They might create fake profiles and engage with others to combat their feelings of being alone.

26. One-third of Catfishers Engaged in Catfishing Out of Dissatisfaction With Their Physiques and Other Features.

These individuals may create fake online personas to feel better about themselves or hide their insecurities related to their appearance and other characteristics.

27. Over One-third of Perpetrators Wanted to Confess Their Actions to Their Victims.

This suggests that some may feel guilty or regretful about their actions and want to come clean to those they’ve misled.

What Do Perpetrators Gain from Catfishing?

Perpetrators Gain from Catfishing

28. In 2019, in Oklahoma, Catfishers Looted an Average of $70,288 for Each Victim.

This means that people in Oklahoma deceived by catfishers lost about $70,288 on average to these deceitful individuals. It’s a significant amount of money taken from each victim.

29. Catfishers May Also Entice Their Victims Into Sharing Nude Videos and Photos, Which Can Easily Be Used for Blackmailing.

This means they might persuade people to send intimate or sensitive pictures or videos and then threaten to reveal or misuse these personal images to force the victim to do something they want. It’s a harmful and manipulative tactic often used by catfishers to control or manipulate their targets.

30. While Most Victims Transfer Below $20, 13% Have Transferred Up to $500, and 6% Have Sent Between $1,000 and $10,000.

This data shows that while many lose only a small amount of money to catfishers, some send much larger sums.

31. 20% of Individuals are Motivated by Coaxing Nude Videos or Photos, While 22% of Victims Fall Prey and Send Their Nudes.

On the other side, 22% of victims of catfishing end up falling for this manipulation and sending their explicit pictures or videos to the catfisher. So, a significant number of victims send these intimate images as a result of the catfisher’s coaxing or manipulation. 

32. In the UK, 2016 had the Highest Number of Online Romance Scams, Leading to Losses of up to £39 Million ($50 Million).

During that year, there was a significant increase in the number of romance scams, and it had a big financial impact on the victims, collectively losing that much money.

33. 9% of Catfishing Victims Encounter Severe Mental Issues.

This means that a small but significant portion of people who catfishers are deceived face severe emotional or psychological challenges due to the deceit and manipulation they have gone through.   

34. Emotional Responses Vary Among Victims: Humor, Humiliation, Heartbreak, and Distress.

20% of victims considered the situation humorous, 25% found it humiliating, 13% were heartbroken, and 13% encountered notable emotional distress after such encounters.

Messaging Apps Catfishing Statistics

Messaging Apps Catfishing Statistics

WhatsApp is the messaging app that scammers use the most for their activities, followed by Telegram, Kik, and Signal. Scammers commonly use these apps for deceptive actions and fraudulent schemes. Staying cautious and aware of potential scams when using these messaging platforms is essential. 

36. On Average, Losses Resulting From Catfishing on Messaging Platforms Were $2,000.

On average, losses caused by catfishing on messaging platforms amounted to $2,000. This means that people who fell victim to catfishers on messaging apps typically lost around $2,000 each. 

37. Like Online Dating Apps, Women are the Most Likely to be Scammed on Messaging Apps.

Women are often the primary victims of scams on these platforms, and they need to be especially cautious and vigilant to avoid falling prey to scammers and fraudsters.

38. In 2022, Catfishing on Messaging Platforms Increased by 25% Over 2021 Figures.

This means there was a significant rise in deceptive activities and fraudulent actions carried out by catfishers on messaging apps during 2022 compared to the previous year

39. Catfishing Over Social Media Platforms Can Have a Devastating Influence on Victims.

Deceptive actions by catfishers can lead to emotional distress, financial losses, damage to one’s reputation, and even harm to mental well-being

40. Catfishing on Messaging Platforms is Targeted at More Vulnerable Individuals.

Scammers and catfishers may prey on people who are trusting, lonely, or in search of emotional connections. Their feelings push them to the extent that they can only survive on long-term commitment, which these catfishers promise them.

Social Media Catfish Stats

41. Since 2019, 50% of All Catfishing Frauds Have Occurred on Social Media Platforms, Specifically Instagram and Meta.

This data indicates catfishing has become a significant digital and social media issue, especially Instagram and Meta. These platforms have become a primary playground for individuals who create fake personas to deceive, manipulate, and defraud others.

Tinder is the most popular dating website for catfishers, followed by Bumble, Plenty of Fish, and OkCupid. This is because Tinder is a very popular dating app with a large user base, which makes it easier for catfishers to find victims. Tinder is also a relatively anonymous app, which makes it easier for catfishers to create fake profiles and identities. 

43. Catfishers Often Use Fake Profiles or Fake Photos.

This is because they want to create a false sense of security and trust with their victims. They may also use fake profiles and photos to make themselves seem more attractive, successful, or well-traveled than they are. 

44. The Main Goal of Catfishing on Online Dating Platforms is to Gain the Person’s Trust and Then Ask for Valuables or Money.

This statistic reveals why catfishing engages in this fraudulent act. It’s either they want to ask for money or other valuable items.

45. 22% of Individuals on Tinder are Already in Committed Relations.

According to a study by Erasmus University Rotterdam, 22% of individuals on Tinder are already in committed relationships. This suggests that many people use Tinder for reasons other than finding a romantic partner.

46. 21% of Catfishing Scams Emerged From Meta (Facebook).

According to a Federal Trade Commission (FTC) report, 21% of catfishing scams occurred from Meta (Facebook) in 2021. This makes it the most popular platform for catfishers, followed by Instagram, which accounted for 11% of scams.

47. Over Six Months, Facebook Eliminated 1.3 Billion Fake Accounts.

Facebook attributes the increase in fake account removals to its improved ability to detect and remove fake accounts. The company has invested heavily in developing new tools and algorithms to identify and remove fake accounts, and it is also working with law enforcement agencies to track down and prosecute catfishers. 

48. Counterfeit Accounts Frequently Have Over Six Times More Friends on Social Media Platforms than Real Users.

According to a study by the University of California, Berkeley, fake social media accounts have an average of 6.4 times more friends than real accounts. This is because catfishers often use fake accounts to target many potential victims. They may also use bots to generate fake friends and followers. 

49. 83 Million Facebook Accounts are Counterfeit, With 97% Posing as Women.

A recent report indicates that approximately 83 million Facebook accounts are fraudulent, with a staggering 97% of them impersonating women. These counterfeit profiles raise concerns about online identity theft and fraudulent activity on the platform. Facebook is actively working to combat this issue.

50. Social Media Platforms Experience More Catfishing Fraud Than Dating Platforms.

According to a 2022 report by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), social media platforms accounted for 21% of catfishing scams in 2021, while dating platforms accounted for 16%.

According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), romance scams resulted in $170 million in losses in the first half of 2020. This is a significant increase from the $113 million in losses reported in the same period in 2019.

52. 85% of All Catfishing Scams Emerge From Facebook.

According to the Anti-Phishing Working Group report, Facebook is the most popular platform for catfishing scammers, accounting for 85% of all catfishing scams in 2022

53. 50% of Individuals Posing as Single are Committed Somewhere Else.

There are many reasons why people might pose as single when they are not. Some people may be looking for casual encounters or affairs. Others may be trying to catfish people for financial gain. Still, others may be lonely and looking for companionship. 

54. 51% of Internet Daters Posing as Single are in a Relationship.

Another study cited supporting this statistic is a 2016 study by the University of Notre Dame, which found that 26% of online daters had lied about their relationship status. However, this study was also limited in its scope. 

55. In 2022, 27% of Internet Daters Reported Being Scammed.

According to a 2023 Federal Trade Commission (FTC) report, 27% of internet daters reported being scammed in 2022. This is a significant increase from the 23% of internet daters who said they were being scammed in 2021. The FTC report also found that the median loss for victims of online dating scams was $650 in 2022, up from $500 in 2021.

56. In 2021, Social Media Platforms Were Found to be the First Point of Contact for Catfishing Romance Scams.

Social media platforms are a popular way for scammers to initiate contact with potential victims of catfishing romance scams. According to a 2022 report by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), social media platforms were the first point of contact for 21% of catfishing scams in 2021

57. 42% of Tinder Customers are Already in a Committed Relationship, While 30% are Married, and 12% are in an Existing Relationship.

A significant portion of Tinder’s customer base raises concerns about relationship status, with 42% of users already in committed relationships, 30% being married, and 12% currently involved in other existing relationships. These statistics highlight the complexity of intentions among app users in dating and connections.

58. In 2022, 73% of Web Users Voted for Social Media Platforms to Ban Catfishers.

According to a 2022 survey by the Pew Research Center, 73% of internet users believe that social media companies should do more to remove catfishers from their platforms. This demand is likely due to the increasing prevalence of catfishing and its negative impact on victims. 

This is a common tactic used by romance scammers to gain the sympathy and trust of their victims. They may claim a serious illness, such as cancer or a heart condition, or argue that a loved one is ill and needs money to pay medical bills.

60. On Dating Sites, Most Victims Believe Their Dates After They Claim to be Ill, as This has Emerged as a Common Lie.

Scammers often use the illness tactic to create a sense of urgency and pressure their victims to send them money. They may claim that they need money to pay for surgery or other medical treatments, or they may claim that they need money to help their loved one who is ill.

Catfishing and Internet Dating

Catfishing and Internet Dating

61. In 2020, California Topped the List of Most Heavily Impacted States by Romance Scams, Accounting for a $120 Million Loss.

This surge was due to the increase in mobile devices during the lockdown. An online dating statistics report showed that over 3,110 victims were affected, with a loss totaling over $120m. Texas, Florida, Michigan, and New York rounded out the top five states most affected by these scams.

62. Romance Scams are an Existing Online Epidemic, as Most Occur on Social Media Platforms Like Instagram and Facebook.

Social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Snapchat are prevalent atmospheres for catfishers. However, Facebook and Instagram are the most common social media platforms for romance scams. Social media gives catfishers more chances to target would-be victims with fake identities and profiles.

63. In 2020, Attempts to Recover Funds Lost to Romance Scams Experienced a 40% Growth.

Recovering lost funds from scammers has never been easy, but it has been possible over the years. The reported losses from romance scams are estimated to be $304 million, indicating a 40% rise from the previous year. Victims who were quick to fall for romance scams were unaware of such scams or believed the scammers’ tactics quickly.

64. Individuals Aged 20 to 29 Encountered the Highest Increase in Romance Scams.

Individuals who are most likely open to romance scam attacks fall between the ages of 20 to 29. Scam reports from the vicenarians grew between 2019 and 2022 by 40%, recording the highest percentage amongst different age groups.

65. People Between 40 and 69 Were the Most Prone to Romance Scams.

Sexagenarians are the most susceptible age category for romance scams for specific reasons. This may be because of loneliness due to being divorced or widowed. Another reason could be their good financial standing, which makes them more prone to romance scams. 44% of people in this category fell victim to romance scams in 2022.

Catfishing Consequences Statistics

Catfishing Consequences

66. In 2021, Internet Romance Scams in the US Accounted for a Massive Loss of $547 Million.

According to a 2021 report from the Federation of Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the US lost $547 million to romance scams. On average, the US loses $500 to the malicious scams carried out by catfishers online yearly. Lately, social media developed strategies for individuals to detect fake profiles and fight against these online scams.

67. In 2021, Romance Catfish Fraudsters Used Malicious Crypto Schemes to Scam Victims, Leading to a Loss of $139 Million in Crypto.

The crypto plot is another medium through which catfishers extort money from victims online. In 2021, $139 million was lost to crypto romance scams. The catfishers deceive their intended victims into investing in cryptocurrency and convince them to send cryptos to their wallet addresses. Cryptocurrency transactions are not reversible, which makes crypto-related scam recovery burdensome.

68. In the Same Year, 1,800 Complaints Were Associated With Internet Scams, All Coming From Online Dating Sites or Social Media Platforms.

In the same year, 1,800 complaints were reported, all stemming from incidents related to internet scams. Notably, these complaints were exclusively linked to online dating sites and social media platforms, underscoring the prevalence of fraudulent activities in these digital spaces.

69. Sextortion Cases Resulted in More Than $13.6 Million in Losses in 2021, as the FBI Handled Over 18,000 Reported Cases.

It is worth noting that these cases may be underreported, as most victims fear coming forward to admit them. Sextortion can destroy victims who may encounter emotional distress, suicidal thoughts, and financial hardship. 

70. In 2022, Victims of Catfish Fraud Experienced a Loss of About $700 Via Gift Cards.

People who were victims of catfish scams encountered an average of $700 in financial losses via gift cards, as reported by the FTC. These scammers usually pose as successful individuals, military personnel, government officials, or romantic partners. 

71. In 2021, Victims of Romance Scams Encountered a Massive Loss of $956 Million.

According to the FTC, this $956 million loss by romantic scams is the highest amount of cash ever lost to romantic scams.

72. Catfishing in Government Makes it More Difficult for Government Bodies to Attract and Retain Workers.

Government agencies may experience difficulty in attracting and retaining workers for numerous reasons. These include the negative impact on their morale; government officials who have been victims of catfishing may feel betrayed by their colleagues or bosses and no longer trust their co-workers, and potential government workers may be scared of being catfished during the recruitment process. 

73. In 2021, a Russian Spy Catfished a United States Department Worker and Got Access to Classified Details.

A Russian intelligence official called “Evgeniy Viktorovich Gladkikh” opened a fake LinkedIn profile named “Alexey Ivanov.” The scammer then connected with the United States government worker using a phony profile and developed a romantic relationship. When Gladkikh attempted to convince the US government worker to reveal classified information, she became suspicious and reported him to her supervisor, and Gladkikh was arrested. He is currently serving a 10-year term. 

74. In 2023, a Nigerian Fraudster Catfished a United States Department of Homeland Security Worker and Extorted $20,000.

“In 2023, a Nigerian fraudster posed as a fake identity online, successfully catfishing a United States Department of Homeland Security employee and extorting $20,000 from them. This massive amount extorted shows the huge amount victims could lose to catfishers and fraudsters.

75. In 2022, a Chinese Man Catfished a United States Department Worker and Extorted Sensitive Military Plans.

In 2022, a Chinese individual engaged in a catfishing scheme, deceiving a United States Department worker through online impersonation. The imposter then extorted sensitive military plans from the victim, raising significant security concerns.

76. 35% of Perpetrators Indulge in the Act to Extort Money, While 20% of People Become Victims and Send Money.

According to a 2022 report by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), 35% of perpetrators of romance scams engage in the act to extort money, while 20% of victims send cash. This is a significant amount of money, and knowing the risks of romance scams is important.

Catfishing in Government

Catfishing in Government

77. One in Ten Government Staff has Experienced Catfishing.

This may happen for various reasons, including that government officials usually have access to crucial and sensitive information, which can make them targets for catfishers. Then, most government workers are inexperienced and young and can be prone to scams. Lastly, the internet offers anonymity to scammers, making identifying scammers difficult. 

78. The Department of Defense (20%), Department of State (15%), and Department of Homeland Security (10%) are the Most Attacked Government Agencies by Catfishers.

These departments have been the most common agencies to be targeted by catfishers for various reasons. First, they have access to sensitive information, making them chief areas of target for catfishers. Then, many government workers are recruits, making them prone to scams. Furthermore, thanks to the anonymity of the internet, victims have difficulty reporting or identifying catfishers. 

79. Catfishers in Government May Attempt to Blackmail Government Employees, Implement Terrorist Attacks, or Steal Classified Information.

Catfishers may pose as government executives to gain classified information. They may also attempt to trick government workers into disclosing classified details by pretending to be interested in getting into a romantic relationship with the target or by asking their targets questions about their work.

80. Catfishers in Government Usually Pose as Military Personnel, Contractors, or Foreign Officials.

Catfishers in government love to pose as military personnel, contractors, or foreign officials because these are all roles where they can gain access to sensitive details

81. On Average, Catfishing in Government Results in a $10,000 Loss.

This reveals the massive negative impact catfishing can have on the government. Since government officials usually have access to sensitive information, catfishers usually pose as trusted officials, like military personnel, contractors, or foreign officials, to gain the trust of their victims. 

82. 50% of Americans Say That Catfishing Has Destroyed the Federal Government’s Reputation to the Public.

According to a 2023 Pew Research Center study, 50% of Americans say catfishing has devastated the public’s perception of the federal government. This is a notable revelation, indicating a serious challenge affecting public trust in the federal government.

83. 60% of Americans Say That Catfishing is a Severe Problem in the Federal Government.

60% of American citizens said that catfishing is a serious challenge in the federal government, indicating a serious problem affecting public trust in government. It is worth noting that there are various reasons why catfishing is a notable problem that is influencing public trust in government. First, scammers can use catfishing to target government employees and officials, resulting in them being extorted or blackmailed. 

84. 40% of Government Workers Who Have Been Victims of Catfishing Have Considered Resigning From Their Jobs.

According to a 2023 study by the National Association of Government Employees (NAGE), 40% of government workers who have been victims of catfishing have considered resigning their jobs. This is a notable revelation, revealing that catfishing can severely negatively influence the productivity and morale of government employees.

85. As a Result, 70% of Government Workers Who Have Been Catfished Have Been Emotionally Distressed.

The 2023 NAGE study report found that 70% of government workers who have experienced catfishing have been emotionally distressed because of it. This statistic reveals the severe impact of catfishing on the mental health of government workers.

86. Catfishing Can Severely Impact Government Workers’ Personal Lives, Resulting in Financial Problems, Relationship Difficulties, or Health Problems.

Catfishing in government can result in relationship issues between government workers and their friends, romantic partners, and family members. They may also experience financial difficulties after being blackmailed or tricked into sending money. 

87. Government Workers Struggling Financially or Recruits are the Most Targeted for Catfishing Attacks.

Government workers struggling financially or new to the jobs are usually the most targeted by catfishers. Recruits are the most vulnerable to catfishing scams because they may be more trusting and unfamiliar with the workplace. Also, government workers struggling financially may be more prone to being targeted by catfishers, as they may be the most desperate for money. 

88. In 2021, the Federal Government Lost More Than $1 Billion to Catfishing Scams. 

A 2022 study by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) showed that the federal government lost more than $1 billion to catfishing scams in 2021. Notably, this is a massive growth from the $500 million the government failed to catfish scams the year before.

89. Government Workers With Access to Classified Information or Working on Sensitive Projects are Prone to Catfishers.

Government workers with access to classified information or involvement in sensitive projects are vulnerable to catfishers who use deception and false identities to exploit their position for espionage, data breaches, or blackmail. These individuals must exercise extreme caution and employ stringent cybersecurity measures to safeguard national security and protect sensitive data from malicious actors.

Catfishing in Online Gaming

Catfishing in Online Gaming

90. Following Phishing and Account Takeovers, Catfishing is the Third Most Frequent Internet Gaming Scam.

A 2022 Anti-Phishing Work Group (APWG) report showed that catfishing is the third most common type of internet gaming. There are various reasons why catfishing is very common in internet gaming. First, internet gaming communities are often supportive and welcoming, which makes it easy for scammers to gain the trust of other players. Second, the majority of internet gamers are young and inexperienced. 

91. 20% of Internet Gamers Have Been Catfished.

Catfishes have scammed one in five internet gamers, revealing a significant online gaming challenge. Thanks to the welcoming and supportive nature of online gaming communities, catfishers prefer to use them to gain the trust of their targets, which are other players. 

92. There is An Increase in Online Gaming Catfish Activities.

The increasing popularity of internet gaming in recent years has provided a large pool of possible targets for catfishers. Then, the anonymity offered by internet gaming makes it difficult for targets to identify catfishers, as these scammers can impersonate other players.

93. Catfishers in Internet Gaming Usually Target Young Gamers, Who are More Vulnerable and Trusting.

Younger gamers are usually more trusting, inexperienced, and inexperienced, making them great targets for exploitation. Catfishers often prey on young online gamers by posing as friends, family, or romantic partners.

94. Romantic Catfishing is Becoming a Pervasive Threat in Online Gaming.

Romantic catfishing is the most common form in internet gaming, as the catfish poses as a romantic partner to win the victim’s trust and exploit the individual. They do this across every industry, sector, and country.

Catfishing in Crypto and Web3 Statistics

Crypto and Web3

95. Catfishing Activities in Crypto and Web3 Have Grown by More Than 200% in the Last Year.

According to a 2023 study by the Anti-Phishing Working Group, catfishing activities in the crypto and Web3 industries have grown by 200% in the past year. The anonymity crypto provides to scammers, the increasing popularity of crypto and Web3, and the absence of regulation in the crypto space are major reasons for this growth.

96. Over 50% of Crypto and Web3 Catfishing Scams are Aimed at Women.

A 2023 report by Chainalysis showed that more than 50% of catfishing scams in the Web3 space are associated with romance. Interestingly, scammers pose with fake profiles, connect with and gain the trust of their targets, and then ask them for financial assistance. In some situations, romance catfishers may even fool their victims into investing in falsified Web3 projects.

97. Over 30% of Crypto and Web3 Catfishing Scams Target Individuals Below 30.

This may happen for several reasons, including that individuals below 30 are more likely to adopt new and innovative technologies, making them more prone to scams. Young individuals are usually more active on social media platforms, a significant channel that scammers use to connect with their victims. Also, individuals below 30 may have lesser knowledge of cryptocurrency and the Web3, making them more vulnerable to scams. 

Catfishers in crypto and Web3 may attempt to steal their target’s details in several ways. For instance, they may request that their victims provide their personal information to “process a payment” or “verify their identity.” It is worth noting that once the scammer has gotten their victim’s personal information, they can use it for various malicious acts. 

99. Over 10% of Crypto and Web3 Catfishing Scams are Associated With Investment Fraud.

Catfishers in crypto may deceive their victims into investing in fake cryptocurrency projects or promising higher investment returns. In addition, they may also attempt to manipulate their victims into staking more cash than they can risk. Usually, these acts have more destructive impacts on the victims. 

100. In 2022, Crypto and Web3 Losses Reported to the FTC Accrued to More Than $1 Billion.

The FTC’s 2023 report revealed that crypto-related scams are constantly increasing, as losses reported to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) accrued up to $1 billion in 2022. This marks a considerable growth from the previous year when reported losses totaled $547 million

101. Although the Average Loss to a Crypto Catfish Scam is $2,000, Some Have Lost Millions.

Chainalysis’ 2023 report found that, on average, victims of crypto scams lose up to $2,000. Moreover, some individuals have lost several million dollars. Some reasons people lose so much money to crypto-related scams include that Web 3 provides anonymity, the absence of regulation of the web3 space makes it hard for victims to obtain help, and some victims may not report being scammed because of fear of shame or embarrassment. 

102. Catfishing Scams in Crypto and Web3 Account for More Than 20% of All Reported Frauds.

Catfishing scams are becoming more common in the crypto space for various reasons, including that the blockchain and crypto techs are new and sophisticated technologies. This can make it difficult for individuals to identify scams. Then, the increasing permissionless and decentralized nature of the crypto space makes crypto a desirable choice of transactions for individuals. 

103. In 2023, a Group of Scammers Who Posed as Ambassadors of a Legitimate Web3 Project Scammed a Man of $1 Million.

The scammers contacted the man over the Internet and informed him that he had been chosen to partake in a private investment round for the Web3 project. In addition, they promised him high revenues on his investment, which led to him sending $1 million. Moreover, the scammers eluded with the victim’s money, and the project never sufficed. 

104. In 2022, a Man Who Posed as a Crypto Investor on a Dating Platform Scammed a Woman of $2 Million.

The woman, whose identity wasn’t revealed, met the scammer on the dating application Bumble, and they started dating. The scammer deceived the woman that he was a successful crypto investor who could help her earn more money. Eventually, the victim invested $2 million in the scammer’s crypto investment scheme. Moreover, he absconded with her money, and the investment turned out to be a fraud.

105. A Group of Individuals Were Defrauded Millions of Dollars by a False Crypto Exchange in 2023.

The fake exchange, “CryptoFX,” was developed by scammers who posed as legitimate crypto exchange operators. It is worth noting that the scammers established fake social media accounts and fake websites. The fraudsters convinced the victims to invest in CryptoFX by promising to offer them high returns on their investments. 

106. In 2023, a Man Who Posed as a Crypto Developer on LinkedIn Scammed a Woman of $1 Million.

The catfish used a fake profile to connect and interact with the woman, claiming to be working on a novel crypto project and providing the woman with the chance to invest. The victim then trusted him and transferred $1 million to him, only for him to disappear with her cash. 

Romantic catfishing constitutes over 20% of crypto and Web3 ecosystem scams. These fraudulent activities involve individuals impersonating romantic interests to deceive and exploit victims financially. This alarming trend highlights the need for increased vigilance and awareness in online relationships within these emerging technologies.

Catfishing Records for the Different States

Records for the Different States

108. Nevada Ranks as the state with the most possibility of experiencing catfishing, followed by Wyoming, Washington, and Utah.

109. Maine recorded the lowest cost per scam victim, accounting for $3,820.

110. Oklahoma recorded the highest cost per victim, recording $70,288.

111. There were 41,463 reported cases of romance scams in 2020. That figure will increase to 59,690 cases in 2021. However, the figure declined significantly in 2022.

112. In 2022, 60% of adults preferred a picture verification system to inhibit catfish situations.

113. In some cases, catfishing has led to suicide.

114. Victims of Catfishing are more likely to encounter depression, anxiety, and PTSD.

115. Catfishing can also lead to physical harm, which includes sexual abuse.

116. 7% of adults aged between 18 and 34 admitted to transferring money to a catfish in 2022.

117. In 2021, only 2.8% of romance scams were reported.

118. 10% of individuals have been catfished on the internet.

119. The Philippines tops as the country with the most reported cases, accounting for 1,315 cases.

120. Nigeria, Canada, the UK, and Turkey follow strongly after the Philippines.

121. Men are more likely to be catfishers than women.

122. Catfish victims globally are aged 35 years old, on average.

123. In 2022, there were 35% more reported cases globally than in 2021.

124. Catfishing is a severe crime; perpetrators can be prosecuted for identity theft, fraud, and other serious offenses.

125. Catfish scammers are using more sophisticated methods.

Legal Consequences

126. In 2021, there were more than 3,000 federal convictions for ID theft. 

127. In 2021, a Canadian man was sentenced to three years for catfishing and sexually exploiting a 15-year-old girl.

128. In 2020, an American woman was sentenced to five years in prison for catfishing a 60-year-old man and looting more than $200,000 from him.

129. In 2022, a British man was sentenced to three years for catfishing a 14-year-old girl

130. The average prison sentence for identity theft is two years.

131. The legal impact of catfishing can also negatively influence a catfish’s future employment and reputation.

Catfishing in the Workplace

Catfishing in the Workplace

132. Catfishers in the workplace can result in identity theft

133. Catfishers in the workplace can be detrimental to a victim’s reputation.

134. Catfishing in the workplace is most common in specific industries, which include sales and marketing. 

135. Catfishing in the workplace can negatively impact victims, as they may feel humiliated, ashamed, or betrayed

136. Workplace catfishers may pose as potential clients, co-workers, or employers.

137. There were more than 3,000 federal convictions for identity theft in 2021. 

Catfishing in the Media

138. Catfishing has been featured in more than 100 movies and TV shows.

139. The most popular catfishing is “MTV Catfish,” which has aired over 100 episodes. 

140. “Catfish” 2010 is the most popular movie related to catfishing, which has accrued more than 10 million views on Netflix.

141. Catfishing has been featured in several documentaries, such as “Tinder Swindler” (2022) and “Catfish: The Killing of Ariel.” 

142. The media influenced 60% of catfishing victims. 

143. 40% of catfishing victims claim that it led to them becoming more aware of the dangers and risks of catfishing.

144. 30% of individuals who have encountered catfishing in the media believe that it made them more reactive to report a scam if they were to be catfished. 

145. 70% of TV shows and movies about catfishing portray the catfish as an antagonist. 

146. 70% of individuals who have viewed catfishing in the media believe raising awareness of the act is essential. 

147. 60% of individuals viewing catfishing in the media are more likely to inform their family members and friends about it. 

148. 60% of documentaries about catfishing portray the catfish as a complex individual with personal motivations. 

149. 80% of individuals viewing catfishing in the media believe it is a severe problem

150. 50% of TV shows and movies related to catfishing reveal a happy ending for the catfishing victim.

Catfishing Resources Statistics

Resources Stats

151. More than 100,000 individuals visited the FTC’s site on catfishing.

152. Over 10,000 individuals contacted the Catfish Recovery Project for support in 2021. 

153. More than 1,000 individuals reported catfish scams to the Better Business Bureau in 2020. 

154. The FTC has a blog post specializing in catfish with over 10,000 members

155. The FBI has a page dedicated to catfishing, with more than 500,000 visits last year.  

156. The Catfish Recovery Project has a podcast that has more than 100 episodes

157. The number of TV shows and movies related to catfishing has grown 500% in the last 10 years

158. Catfishing in the media can also result in increased catfishing scams. 

159. Victims of catfishing in the media are often portrayed as gullible and naive.

160. There is an increasing movement to raise awareness of the risks of catfishing in the media.

161. There is an increase in the number of celebrities sharing their experiences with catfishing.

Catfishing Statistics in Education

Stats in Education 

162. One out of five students have been catfished.

163. Female students are more likely to be catfished than male students.

164. Students who are struggling socially or academically are more likely to be catfished.

165. Younger students are more likely to be catfished than older students. 

166. Students who are new to internet learning are more likely to be catfished.

167. Catfish in education usually pose as a victim’s teacher, classmate, or other academic authority figure.

168. Students who have been catfished may lose money to the catfish

169. 40% of students who have been catfished claim that the catfisher was someone they met in an online study group or class.

170. 20% of students who have been victims of catfishing say that they met the catfisher in an internet game.

171. 30% of students who have been victims of catfishing say that they met the catfisher on social media.

172. On average, catfishing in education costs $500.

173. 10% of students who have been catfished met the catfisher on a dating app

174. 60% of students who have been victims of catfishing say that they had emotional distress due to the experience. 

175. 10% of students who have experienced catfishing were physically harmed.

176. 30% of students who have been victims of catfishing experienced academic problems due to it.

Catfishing in the Family

Catfishing in the Family

177. Catfishing in families is more frequent on social media than on other platforms.

178. One in ten individuals who have been catfished thought the catfisher was a family member.

179. Catfishers in the family may ask for personal information or money.

180. Catfishers in a family usually pose as distant relatives, like an aunt or cousin.

181. Catfishers in the family can destroy relationships and trust in the family.

182. Vulnerable people, like those with disabilities or the elderly, are the most prone to catfishing.

183. Catfishing in a family can result in financial disasters for victims.

184. Catfishers in the family may implement various strategies to manipulate and exploit their victims.

185. Catfishers may use stolen videos or photos to pose as people they are not.

186. Children catfished by a family member are more prone to experiencing emotional problems like depression and anxiety.

187. Children catfished by a family member may be at a higher risk of other forms of abuse.

188. Children whose family member has catfished are more likely to have difficulty trusting others.

189. 5% of people who a family member has catfished experienced physical harm due to the encounter.

190. In rare cases, catfishing in the family can result in suicide.

191. Victims of catfishing in the family may feel ashamed, humiliated, and betrayed.


Catfishing is one of the most common forms of scams used on the internet, as many individuals, businesses, and government employees are lured and deceived into thinking perpetrators are people who can be trusted. However, these catfishers end up capitalizing on the weaknesses of their victims. They exploit targets for money-sensitive information, damaging their reputation on the internet or harming them physically or sexually. It is a federal crime and results in severe judgment globally. But, ultimately, education is key — knowing catfishing statistics can help a heap.


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