When it comes to romance scams, Texas ranks close to the top in catfished states.

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I'm the first to admit that I don't keep up with today's lingo, but apparently "catfishing" has more than one meaning.

Catfish

Turns out there's more than one type of catfish in the world. There's the fish you catch and eat (I prefer mine fried), and then there's the romance scam known as "catfishing" that can cost you a fortune if you get caught up in one.

The "catfishing" term we are talking about here was coined in 2010 and is when someone creates a false identity using information and images from other people's social media accounts to engage in a dishonest relationship with an unknowing person, or victim, in this case. It's a relationship that can end up costing the victim thousands of dollars.

Catfish Scams are Costly

According to Social Catfish, catfishing scams have cost their victims millions of dollars. New data shows that in 2021, Americans lost $547 million in catfishing scams. In 2020 that number was $304 million, that's an 80% increase from one year to the next.

Texas Catfish

Now, before you go thinking that catfishing only happens to other people you should know that Texas is one of the most catfished states in the country. In fact, a new study shows that Texas ranked as the 3rd-most catfished state in 2021 with over 1,700 victims and more than $65 million in losses. That equals more that $37,000 per victim of catfishing.

The only states that were catfished more were Florida at #2 and California at #1.

Tips to Prevent Catfishing

Sometimes you just fall into their trap without even realizing you did it, so as a reminder and to help prevent getting catfished, remember two simple rules:

- Never share your personal information including bank info, social security number, your address or your mother's maiden name or birthday to people you met online. Unless you've met them in person and have built up trust in them, you should never share that personal info with anyone.

Their goal is to get you to trust them so that you will share that info and once you do, it could be too late.

- Never send money to anyone you don't personally know and have not met in person.

I hope this article helps you avoid being the victim of a catfishing scam. Now we can get back to the kind of catfish we can all enjoy - fried!

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