What could be more heartbreaking than being the victim of a romantic scam? You're misled into believing that you found the love of your life, your soul mate, only to find that whoever you're talking to and giving money to is not what they seem to be. You're not alone.

You may ask yourself, How could I have been so stupid? You're not. In fact, a new poll of 3,047 romance scam victims conducted by social catfish, which is the largest ever conducted, found that 75% are college educated and 13% have graduate degrees showing scammers have grown increasingly savvy.

This is just another thing you have to deal with as you try to find love.

MilanMarkovic Getty Stock/Thinkstock
MilanMarkovic/Getty Stock/Thinkstock

New Jersey is the 6th most scammed state with 12,817 victims losing $206,982,032, which is the same amount as Pennsylvania. Only the Keystone state had 17,262 victims.

New York came in third with 29,065 victims for a whopping $559,965,598 lost.

California was actually the worst for romantic scams with 67,095 victims and $1,227,989,139 lost. To see every state click here.

Social Catfish is a company that verifies online identities with reverse searches. They released the results as part of their study on the State of Internet Scams 2022 using data from the FBI IC3 and the FTC.

Among the findings, women, middle-and lower-income Americans, and young people of color are increasingly being targeted.

Among their Key Poll Results from their press release:

  • "84% of Victims are Middle or Lower Class: 44% of victims make less than $100,000 and an additional 40% make less than $40,000 per year.
  • Young People of Color Hit Hard: White victims are largely middle-aged and elderly, but 13% of victims of color were under the age of 40, compared to just 4% of white victims.
  • 78% of victims are female.
  • 35% said their scam originated on a dating app and 27% said it started on Facebook.
  • 10% of victims lost more than $100,000 and 4% lost more than $200,000."

So what can you do to avoid being scammed romantically?

They say:

"Never give money or personal information to anyone you have not met in person and perform a reverse search to verify online identities."

Opinions expressed in the post above are those of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Steve Trevelise only. Follow him on Twitter @realstevetrev.

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These are the best hiking spots in New Jersey

A trip to New Jersey doesn't have to be all about the beach. Our state has some incredible trails, waterfalls, and lakes to enjoy.

From the Pine Barrens to the Appalachian Trail to the hidden gems of New Jersey, you have plenty of options for a great hike. Hiking is such a great way to spend time outdoors and enjoy nature, plus it's a great workout.

Before you go out on the trails and explore some of our listeners' suggestions, I have some tips on hiking etiquette from the American Hiking Society.

If you are going downhill and run into an uphill hiker, step to the side and give the uphill hiker space. A hiker going uphill has the right of way unless they stop to catch their breath.

Always stay on the trail, you may see side paths, unless they are marked as an official trail, steer clear of them. By going off-trail you may cause damage to the ecosystems around the trail, the plants, and wildlife that live there.

You also do not want to disturb the wildlife you encounter, just keep your distance from the wildlife and continue hiking.

Bicyclists should yield to hikers and horses. Hikers should also yield to horses, but I’m not sure how many horses you will encounter on the trails in New Jersey.
If you are thinking of bringing your dog on your hike, they should be leashed, and make sure to clean up all pet waste.

Lastly, be mindful of the weather, if the trail is too muddy, it's probably best to save your hike for another day.

I asked our listeners for their suggestions of the best hiking spots in New Jersey, check out their suggestions:

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