Arizona ranks as 14th most “catfished” state; average victim duped out of $28K

The catfishing scam is on the rise and new numbers just released indicate that Arizona ranks as the 14th-most catfished state.
Updated: Apr. 13, 2022 at 5:45 PM MST
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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -- The catfishing scam is on the rise, and new numbers released by indicate that Arizona ranks as the 14th most “catfished” state.

The state that got catfished the most is California, where victims lost $184 million. Floridians lost $70 million, Texans were duped out of $65 million and New Yorkers lost $58 million. Catfishing is when a scammer creates a fake online identity and seeks out online relationships with potential victims. It’s very similar to the Romance Scam.

3 On Your Side was recently introduced to a senior citizen by the name of Cindy McBride, who fell for the scam when she began an online relationship with who she thought was a legitimate U.S. Air Force General. But the scammer was using the general’s picture to lure in victims like Cindy, who wound up sending nearly $200,000 to the scammer.

Well, the latest catfish numbers indicate Cindy is not alone. Social Catfish investigated the catfish scam and discovered in Arizona, victims were duped out of $18,827,346 in 2021.

In 2020, that number was $12,068,910. Social Catfish also says the scam is the number one type of fraud reported to the Federal Trade Commission, with victims losing close to $1.5 billion.

David McClellan is with Social Catfish and says he’s discovered that scammers are now using the catfishing scheme to target teenagers on social platforms like TikTok. “We did a lot of research on this, and we actually uncovered these numbers,” McClellan said. We were very shocked because, you know, a lot of times, scammers target people aged 35 to 65 years old because they typically have more money. But we learned that teens trust TikTokers, and they trust the influencers, and they won’t review a website for legitimacy like we would do.”

If you want to verify if the picture of the person you’re talking to is genuine, it’s easy. Go to Google and then to images. Click on the camera and then paste the URL of the photo. Doing that will tell you the real source of the picture.

It’s advised that parents should talk with their teens about not falling for the scam. For more information on catfishing and what to look out for, go to