Editor's note: This article was written by a Townsquare Media Northern New England contributor and may contain the individual's views, opinions or personal experiences.

I have been out of the dating scene for a solid decade, and certainly don't envy folks who are out there trying to navigate the dating app scene. It seems REALLY overwhelming with a side of nerve-wracking. How can you be sure that someone says they are who they say they are?

Unrecognizable woman using dating app and swiping user photos
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Romantic girlfriend is sending a text to her boyfriend
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Con artist/romance scam documentaries are having a major moment (i.e The Tinder Swindler, Inventing Anna, etc), which makes us that more skeptical of people and their intentions. Some people make manipulation into an art form, and it is downright scary.

According to a study conducted by SocialCatfish.com,  New Hampshire is the No. 4 least catfished state with 71 victims losing a record $1 million in 2021, up from $820,326 in 2020. Not too shabby. I know it probably is just because we have a lower population than many other states, but hey, a win is a win and we'll take it!

The Top Five States were California ($184 million stolen), Florida ($70 million), Texas ($65 million), New York ($58 million), and Washington ($32 million).

And New England is looking pretty Catfish-free, with many states at the bottom of the list:

Bottom Five Places: Maine ($386,894 stolen), Vermont ($528,709), D.C. ($861,723), New Hampshire ($1 million), and Arkansas ($1.2 million).

The article went on to outline Five New Romance Scams to avoid in 2022. They are:

1) ‘Money Mules’: A new twist is when scammers do not ask for money, but try to send you some.

How to Avoid: Never provide your bank information or send and accept wire transfers to someone you do not know in real life.

2) ‘CryptoRom’:  Scammers gains the victim's trust, and instead of asking for money, they convince them to invest in a bogus crypto app and steal their money that way.

How to Avoid: Never invest money with anyone you meet online. If you want to invest in Crypto, use well-known Apps like Crypto.com, Coinbase, and PayPal.

3) Teens Targeted on Tik Tok: . Teens are tech-savvy, but feeling ‘love’ for the first time is an overwhelming emotion. This one bums me out and could really do some long-term damage to a teenagers psyche.

How to Avoid: Teens, never send money or give personal information to anyone you have not met in person.

4) Social Media Influencers: This is a scary statistic: a survey conducted by Social Catfish found 86% of influencers have seen an increase in fake profiles made in their likeness since the pandemic began.

How to Avoid: ALWAYS do a reverse image search to confirm if the person in the photos goes by the same name as the person who friend requested you on social media.

5) Gift Card Scams: This is the standard romance scam, but instead of asking for money, they ask for gift cards which are untraceable.

How to Avoid: If your online love interest asks for a gift card, that is a huge red flag and do not do it.

Check out the full article for more tips and tricks to avoid getting bit by a Catfish.

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