Look out New Jersey — with Valentine’s Day approaching, romance scams are at an all time high. The Garden State is a prime target for those looking to make big money by vying for your emotions while stealing your hard earned money.

According to a study by Social Catfish, “The Most Catfished States in America” using data from the FBI and FTC, New Jersey is the 6th most catfished state in the country.

This data was released in late 2022.

New Jersey had over 500 victims losing an incredible $30,142,767, with an average of $58,303 per victim. That is an amazing number.

It is critical that all of us here in New Jersey know how to look for, recognize and most importantly avoid romance scams.

Here are the top 3 signs that you are being catfished and what to do to avoid it:

According to the survey from Social Catfish:

attachment-Fake Profile

1. Fake Profile

The profile is of a very attractive looking person who has an impressive profile. It is always a fake account created by the scammer lifting photo’s and profiles from people on social media. In some cases they lift photos from one site and profiles from another. They have created this profile so that it attracts you at first sight.

They now place this fake account on your dating app, social media or other means and “reel” you in. If it’s too good to be true, it is. A little painstaking homework will vet this profile out proving the false information. Do your homework!

attachment-Falling in love without meeting

2. Falling in love without meeting

They fall in love even though they never met you. Scammers will profess their love for you without ever meeting you. This is a butter-up so that you will give them whatever they want and all they want is your money.

If you think that a person is sincere in their profession of love ask to meet in person, ask to meet their friends or family. Don’t settle for excuses of why they cannot meet you face to face. If they loved you as they say, they’d move mountains to see you.

attachment-They ask for money

3. They ask for money

This is the BIG red flag, the true sign that you are being scammed. If the scammers ask for Crypto, money orders, your bank account info, your credit card info, DON’T GIVE IT TO THEM! They will continue to press and give every kind of excuse why they need your money with promises to payback whatever they “borrow."

In reality they won’t be paying anything back because you have become a victim of theft. If their love is true they will find a way to get the money they need without imposing on the “one they love."

The numbers and the amount of people that have been scammed due to romance scams are astounding.

In 2019 $304 million dollars was paid from victims to scammers through romance scams, in 2020 it rose to $547million, in 2021 the FBI reported that over $1 BILLION was lost to romance scams here in the United States.

The number of dollars lost will keep on growing here in New Jersey and across the country. Help stop the scams, help seniors and those vulnerable to not fall for such scenarios that tug at heart strings and empty bank accounts.

The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 weekend host Big Joe Henry. Any opinions expressed are Big Joe’s own.

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