How Many People Get Catfished a Year

How Many People Get Catfished a Year?

Published on: October 16, 2023
Last Updated: October 16, 2023

How Many People Get Catfished a Year?

Published on: October 16, 2023
Last Updated: October 16, 2023

Quick Answer 🔍

How many people get catfished a year?

Over 20,000 people reported being catfished in the United States in 2020, with 13% of American adults reporting being “definitely” catfished in the past.

Catfishing is the deceptive online practice where someone creates a false persona or identity to fool others into a relationship or for other nefarious purposes. 

The perpetrator often steals videos and photos from other profiles or sources to create their fictional character that looks convincing enough to make it seem like a real identity. 

Catfishers use their created fake identity to build relationships with other people online for financial or romantic purposes.

They may ask for money, gift cards, or start love bombing or forming an immediate attachment to you. 

That said, how many people get catfished a year?

This is the question we’re discussing in this article. 

Catfishing is a growing and troublesome issue that can end with serious consequences for its victims.

Catfishers have been known to exploit and manipulate their victims financially, physically, or emotionally.

In some instances, catfishing has been fatal to a victim.

In this article, we will discuss some statistics along with how many people have been victimized by it.

Keep in mind that not all instances of catfishing are reported, so we can only provide available data that has been reported.

Key Statistics

  • 13% of American adults have reported being definitely catfished.
  • Approximately 20,000 people are targeted by catfishers annually in the United States.
  • 64% of catfishers identify as female.
  • Women are more likely to be victims of catfishing.
  • 41% of catfishers are motivated by loneliness.
  • Catfishing scams in the United States cost an average of $132.5 million each quarter in 2022.
  • More than 53% of Americans lie on their dating profile.
  • 85% of catfishing scams are started on Facebook.

How Many People Get Catfished a Year?

Catfished 304

1. 13% of American Adults Have Reported Being Definately Catfished.

In January 2022, Statista revealed that 13% of Americans in a survey responded that “Yes, definitely” they had been catfished.

Another 17% said they knew someone who had been catfished.

Moreover 17% thought they “probably engaged” with a catfisher and 23% knew someone that “probably engaged” with a catfisher.

This survey also revealed that 38% responded “No, definitely not” regarding interacting with a catfisher online.

(Statista)

2. Catfishing Occurs the Most in The Philippines.

Data from 2020 showed that people in the Philippines reported catfishing scams.

In fact, 1,315 instances of catfishing were reported in the Philippines during the studied period.

There were 1,129 incidents of catfishing reported in Nigeria in 2020 and another 1,054 were reported in Canada.

The United Kingdom ranked fourth in reported catfishing events.

This statistic shows us that catfishing happens all over the world. 

(Statista²)

3. Approximately 20,000 People Are Targeted by Catfishers Annually in The United States. 

Catfished 307

In 2020, 20,000 people reported being catfished in the United States for the year.

These instances were reported to the FBI and then reported to the public.

The FBI reported 20,000 catfishing romance scams in 2020.

Moreover, one 2020 study found that 41% of American adults claimed they had ever been catfished.

This figure has increased by 33% since 2018, so this data shows this is a growing problem.

(Gitnux Blog)

4. 64% of Catfishers Identify as Female.

Men are more prone to believe what they read online than women.

Statistics show that 64% of people who catfish are women. Moreover, 20% of men victimized by a catfisher say they were catfished multiple times by women.

Men are 25% more apt to fall for catfishing than women. 

(Legaljobs.io)

5. Women Are More Apt to Be Targets of Catfishing.

Even though it’s been found that 64% of catfishing is perpetrated by women, they are also more apt to be targeted than men.

Men and women are both out there catfishing in this world today.

(Psychology Today)

6. 41% of Catfishers Are Motivated by Loneliness.

Catfished 312

The Cybersmile Founddation reported that loneliness is one of the most common reasons catfishers do what they do.

In fact, 41% of catfishers are motivated by their own loneliness.

This may be why the number of catfishing incidents rose during the pandemic with more people feeling lonely during the lockdowns.

Other reasons people catfish can be attributed to feeling insecure or to low self-esteem.

(Legaljobs.io)

7. Catfishing Scams in The United States Cost an Average of $132.5 Million Each Quarter in 2022.

In 2022, it was reported that catfishing scams accounted for an average of $132.5 million (USD) in costs per quarter.

This shows an increase of 11.2% over 2021 figures.

Moreover, the average catfishing scam cost victims over $30,000 (USD) in victims aged 70 and older.

That represents 8 times more than catfishing victims under 30 years old. 

(All About Cookies)

8. More than 53% of Americans Lie on Their Dating Profile.

Psychology Today reported that one in every two people lie or exaggerate on their dating profiles.

Moreover, more than 53% of Americans invent parts of their dating profiles.

This can include saying they are a little taller than they are, weigh a little less, or other such benign falsifications.

It may also include nefarious data to coerce money from unwitting victims.

(Dating Advice)

9. In 2022, a Reported 1.3 Billion Fake Accounts Were Removed from Facebook.

Facebook has been notoriously popular for fake accounts.

During the final quarter of 2022, Facebook removed 1.3 billion fake accounts.

In the previous quarter they removed 1.5 billion fake accounts.

It’s common for scammers, cyberattackers, and catfishers to have fake accounts on Facebook.

Instagram is another platform used for fake accounts, second only to Facebook. 

(StatistaÂł)

10. 85% of Catfishing Scams Are Started on Facebook.

Catfished 305

To provide some perspective on how popular Facebook is for catfishing, 85% of these scams start on the Facebook platform.

Since Facebook is home to over 3 billion users nowadays, it makes sense why catfishers would take advantage of that large audience.

Remember Nev Schulman?

That story started on Facebook. 

(Legaljobs.io)

FAQs

What Is Catfishing?

Catfishing is a practice in deception where an individual concocts a false identity to fool others.

In some cases, people use it to protect their own identities.

Others have more nefarious reasons like to emotionally manipulate others or to create a social engineering attack.

Then there are those seeking to live out a fantasy, so they use catfishing to do that. 

It’s common for catfishers to use stolen photos of others to create their false identity.

They target people who are most vulnerable and looking for companionship or love.

These catfishers will go to great lengths to convince others their persona is real and true. 

Why Do They Call It Catfishing?

In a 2010 documentary filmed by Nev Schulman the term “catfishing” was used to describe a situation involving Schulman and an online friendship with girl.

It was discovered that the girl’s persona was fabricated as Schulman found out she was talking to a 40-year-old housewife instead. 

Catfishing was coined from the husband of the 40-year-old housewife who described how codfish are shipping in tanks with catfish to avoid them being lethargic.

It was a method used to keep the codfish active.

In the documentary, the husband compared this practice with the behavior of his wife.

What Are Some Signs of Catfishing?

We found some resources that mention these signs of catfishing, so you can recognize it if you’re ever targeted.

• You see a lack of photos or videos on a social profile.
• You see pictures that you believe to be stolen.
• Catfishers usually have a minimal social media presence or a newly created profile.
• You can’t find them on search engines.
• They ask for money.
• They profess and create an instant attachment and engage in love bombing.
• Requesting explicit videos of photos.
• They may use outlandish stories about being a member of the CIA or they have been in a horrific accident without proof. 

Always do a reverse image search on Google, Bing, or other search engines as part of your fact-checking a profile or persona online.

Also, be on alert when someone you don’t know asks for money or a gift card especially if they are trying to romance you.

Conclusion

Now that we have a bigger picture about catfishing, we can use that data to protect ourselves better from such scams.

We know how big this scam is on Facebook and Instagram, but it can happen across any social media platform.

It’s important to be aware of catfishing before you can prevent it and protect yourself from it.

Hopefully, we have provided enough data and tips to get you started on how to protect yourself from catfishing scammers.

However, not all catfishing is nefarious.

Sometimes it’s as “innocent” as exaggerating small details about height, weight, age, etc.

Also, at least 10% of dating profiles are fake and may be used by catfishers. 

By using these statistics and resources in the FAQs section, you can avoid catfishers and protect your money, emotions, and potentially any kind of bodily harm or worse. 

It’s extremely important to protect yourself while engaging in online activities, especially in social media and messaging platforms like Skype.

Sources

StatistaPsychology TodayStatista²
All About CookiesGitnux BlogDating Advice
Legaljobs.ioStatistaÂł

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Written by Jason Wise

Hello! I’m the editor at EarthWeb, with a particular interest in business and technology topics, including social media, privacy, and cryptocurrency. As an experienced editor and researcher, I have a passion for exploring the latest trends and innovations in these fields and sharing my insights with our readers. I also enjoy testing and reviewing products, and you’ll often find my reviews and recommendations on EarthWeb. With a focus on providing informative and engaging content, I am committed to ensuring that EarthWeb remains a leading source of news and analysis in the tech industry.