FBI data: Americans have lost over $2B to romance cyber crime

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Modern dating is now largely done online. Whilst dating apps do provide a great deal of convenience, users are at risk of falling victim to romance scams. Exemplified by the recent explosive Netflix documentary, ‘The Tinder Swindler’.

Romance scams occur when an opportunistic criminal adopts a fake online identity to gain a victim’s trust and once they successfully do so, they romantically manipulate and/or steal a victim’s prized assets (i.e. money, jewellery etc.).

Interested in this, Forbes Advisor analysed the latest data from FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) to establish which American states in the last five years (2017 – 2021) have had the most romance scam victims.

Romance Scams: American States


American State

Total Number of Victims (2017 – 2021)

Collective Financial Loss Incurred by Victims (2017 – 2021)

Average Financial Loss Per Victim (2017 – 2021)

















New York


































For the full data/results for 52 American states, please click here.

Forbes Advisor found that California is the American state with the most romance scam victims at 12,205 from 2017 – 2021. The 12,205 Californians who fell victim to the cybercrime suffered a collective financial loss of $516,252,511 – on average each victim lost $42,298.

In second position is Florida. The Sunshine State had 6,980 romance scam victims and the overall monetary loss incurred by the victims was an astonishing $187,889,338.

Texas is in third place with 6,968 romance scam victims. The average financial loss suffered per victim in the Lone Star State equates to $26,419.

Rounding off the top 10 American states is Arizona. In the Copper State there were 2,387 romance scam victims between 2017 – 2021 and the combined monetary loss inflicted on victims was a sizeable $51,261,937.

Overall, from 2017 – 2021, 86,422 Americans fell victim to romance scams and $2,305,437,423.00 was the overall financial hit victims took to their pockets because of the scam.

Rob Watts, a Business Editor at Forbes Advisor shared his tips for trying to keep your data safe:

“All told, there is no single solution when it comes to protecting your data. True protection comes from a combination of the right software tools, building your knowledge on cyberthreats and establishing safe practices with your online activity. Many data breaches come as a result of human error, so it’s important to educate yourself in order to spot and counter threats”


  1. Forbes Advisor sought to determine which American state in the last five years (2017 – 2021) has had the most romance scam victims.
  2. To do so, data breaches that had occurred from 2017 to 2021 were obtained from the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center. The source provides a comprehensive account of internet crime complaints in those years.
  3. All of the internet complaints for all 50 states in America were put together and analyzed.
  4. Then, the results for the cybercrime/data breaches category named ‘romance scams’ were extracted from the data source, which provided a romance scam victim count for each analysed American state and the collective financial sum victims in each American state had lost due to being a victim to the cybercrime.
  5. The American states were then ranked highest to lowest based on the total number of romance scam victims between 2017 – 2021 in each American state
  6. Data for the following American territories was available but excluded from the research: Virgin Islands, Northern Mariana Islands, American Samoa, Puerto Rico and ‘United States Minor Outlying Islands’.
  7. The FBI data had also categorised romance fraud as ‘confidence fraud’.
  8. The data was collected on 06/06/22 and is accurate as of then.

Notes to Editors:

I hope the above can be of some use to you! If used, please provide a link credit to https://www.forbes.com/advisor/business/software/best-vpn/

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