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15 Fascinating Facts About Canada

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It’s big — the second-largest country in the world behind Russia — and it’s home to forests, mountains, beaches, rivers, streams and majestic wildlife. But there is much more to know about Canada than most people realize. For example, it has the largest coastline in the world, and it sits in six different time zones. Here are 15 more Canada facts about the country nicknamed the Great White North.

Canada does indeed have the largest coastline in the world. It would take the average person about four and a half years to walk all the way around the country, and that’s if they didn’t stop to eat or sleep. The entire country covers 3,855,103 square miles.

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Donut Capital

If you’re a donut fan, you may want to head straight to Canada. The country is home to more donut shops than any other country in the world. That’s a lot of sugary goodness.

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Polar Bears

If you’ve ever dreamed of seeing polar bears in the wild, you better head to Canada. Out of the 25,000 left in the world, approximately 15,500 live in the country. The town of Churchill is the best place to spot them, as you’re likely to see more bears than people.

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Land of Lakes

If you like spending time at the lake, Canada may be your dream vacation spot. The country is home to over two million lakes of all sizes. The biggest are the ones it shares with the United States: Lake Superior and Lake Huron.

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Most Famous Resident

Canada has produced many celebrities, including Drake, Justin Bieber, Celine Dion and Ryan Reynolds, but there’s one person who is more famous than any of those people combined. The Canadian government once declared Santa Claus a resident of the country, and kids can even send letters to him there and receive a response each Christmas.

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Plenty of Forests

Despite the fact that Canada is the second-largest country in the world, nearly one third of it is covered by forestland. That’s 10 percent of the world’s forests in one country. Most Canadian residents live in urban areas.

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Cold as Mars

It can get pretty cold in Canada. Anyone who has ever lived there or even visited knows that. But what you may not know is that, back in 1947, temperatures were recorded that were comparable to the surface temperature on Mars. That’s about – 81.4 degrees.

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During the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries, French and English settlers built walls around Quebec City to help keep it safe from potential invaders. Those walls remain standing today, making Quebec City the only city north of Mexico to have a walled enclosure.

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National Parks

Canada is home to 47 National Parks. Some of them are so big that they make other countries look pretty small. For example, Alberta’s Wood Buffalo National Park is so large that it takes up more space than countries like Switzerland and Denmark.

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If you’ve ever wondered how far north people live on the Earth, wonder no more. A little settlement called Alert, Nunavut, which is about 500 miles from the North Pole, is the northernmost place where people live permanently on the planet. July temps are around 38 degrees, while it gets down to around – 26 in January.

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Mac and Cheese

Americans consume a lot of macaroni and cheese, but not as much as their northern neighbors. Kraft reports that Canadians consume more of the comfort food than any other country in the world.

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Frozen Ocean

It gets cold on the Canadian island of Newfoundland, but you probably don’t realize just how cold. Sometimes the Atlantic Ocean surrounding the island freezes to a point that residents can actually skate on it and play hockey.

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If Santa is an official Canadian resident, it only makes sense that he’d need to live in a place that has plenty of reindeer for him to choose from. The country is home to over two million caribou. No word on whether any of them have red noses.

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Americans may be in love with basketball, be it the NBA, college hoops or even local high school teams. Many people don’t realize the beloved sport has Canadian roots. Dr. James Naismith of Ontario invented the game in 1891.

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Snake Capital

Scared of snakes? You may want to avoid Manitoba. The Canadian province has more snakes than any other place in the world. Every spring, approximately 70,000 snakes come out of hibernation.

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Romance scams.

A fraudster on an online dating site pretends to be someone looking for love but is really only looking for ways to take your money.

So you've met someone special online. You've exchanged love notes for weeks now. But a part of you wonders if your new love is just too good to be true. How can you be sure they're a sweetheart? Believe it or not, you have the power to spot romance scammers.

Scammers look like charmers on real dating sites until they start asking you for money or financial details. Some scammers even create fake dating sites that look free. Then suddenly fees are popping up everywhere.

Remember: never send money or personal information to anyone on a dating site. And be sure to trust your instincts, read the fine print and ask a lot of questions. Why? Because it might be too good to be true.

And with knowledge, you can beat the scammers at their own game, and get back to finding real love.

Video length: 1 minute, 14 seconds

How it works

The scammer sends you a few messages and a good-looking photo of themselves, or of someone they claim to be. Once you are charmed, they start asking you to send money or financial details. They may claim to have a very sick family member or a desperate situation with which they need your help. Once you give them money, they often disappear.

A fraudster can also create a fake dating site where you pay for each message you send and receive. To keep you writing back and paying, the scammer may hook you in with vague emails about their love and desire for you.

In many cases, the scammer may even arrange to meet up with you in person to make their fraud seem more credible.

How to spot it

Keep your guard up and look out for potential scammers who will try to lower your defences by appealing to your romantic and compassionate side.

Protect yourself

Further reading

How to avoid getting caught up in a romance scam over the holidays, according to an ex-con artist

During the holiday season, people often open their wallets and hearts to others, but as an ex-romance scammer told, fraudsters know this and will take advantage of it.

The Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre reported victims of all scam types gave up $379 million in 2021 , $165 million more than was lost the year before.

The total was representative of the entire year, but Christopher Maxwell, an ex-scam artist, told in an interview Wednesday the easiest time to take advantage of someone is during the last few weeks of December.

"Everyone wants to be with someone during the holidays," he said.

Through his lived experiences of being a romance scam artist in Nigeria, preying on single, middle-aged women, he now reveals the tactics he used to embezzle upwards of $20,000, to help would-be victims avoid similar fates.

Now he is a recovered fraudster working with Social Catfish, a company dedicated to preventing online scams through reverse search technology , but Maxwell entered into the fraud world during university, at a time when many of his classmates were scamming people online.

"They have a lot of money in the bank account…they pay off lectures," he said. "I am broke, I just want footwear."

After buying an Android phone, Maxwell attempted to scam hundreds of women through a fake profile on Instagram.

"I'm gonna tell her I'm broke, I'm in Iran (or) South Korea deployment," Maxwell said he would write to women online. "I want to move back from South Korea to the United States and I need money to pay for that."

During the holiday season, Maxwell says, people should be wary of any online profiles saying they are on deployment in other countries. He said the persona of military personnel who do not have the funds to go home tugs at people's heartstrings.

"I want to see the kids, I want to give her a big hug, I want to see her beautiful blue eyes," he said.

Maxwell targeted an older woman named Lisa, who was from the United States. She was in her mid-60s and was lonely. The two conversed through a fake Instagram profile, and Maxwell gained Lisa's trust to the point where she gave him $20,000.

"She needed someone to love her, " Maxwell said. "She asked me to give proof that I really loved her, so I sent her pizza and flowers."

From there, the two started a "relationship," but after Maxwell scammed Lisa out of $20,000, the woman started getting suspicious. Lisa stopped sending Maxwell money and that's when he decided to come clean.

"I called her and I told her, 'My name is Christopher. I'm sorry for what I did to you,'" Maxwell recounted. To his surprise, Lisa was not angry but impressed at how well he had scammed her.

"I'm going to work and I'll pay you back," Maxwell told her, but Lisa said she would not accept the money.

"She noticed I was kind of lonely… I live in a very bad world," Maxwell said.

This interaction was a turning point for Maxwell, who vowed to start helping people avoid scams and protect themselves online.

"I just felt a really guilty conscience," Maxwell said. "I would not be happy if I let someone do this to my mom…I want people to stop being victims of scams."

Maxwell says doing a video call is an easy way to figure out if someone is who they say they are. Asking questions to match concrete "evidence," like a driver's licence, is also something he advises.

Social Catfish reported 15 different types of scams from the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre (CAFC) data, with investment, romance and extortion fraud having the highest amount of money lost.

"The most common type of scam reported in Canada is extortion, accounting for nearly 30 per cent of all incidents over the past five years," the Social Catfish website explains . "While romance scams account for only about 2 per cent of incidents, they comprise 20 per cent of all dollars lost over the past five years, which is the second-highest rate among all scam types."


According to CAFC, "significant trends" of fraud, identity crimes and associated cybercrime are impacting more Canadians.

"Globally, Canadians rank near the top in terms of length of time spent online and are putting more personal information online than ever before," the CAFC 2021 report reads.

Social Catfish broke down data from the CAFC to showcase an average financial loss across Canada.

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According to CAFC, young and elderly Canadians are the most vulnerable to online scams and are being targeted by fraudsters.

"While these groups are widely adopting the benefits of the digital world, they may not necessarily have as strong an understanding of the threat environment," the report reads . "The current trend underscores the need for further education and awareness surrounding cyber literacy and hygiene."


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Dating Scams Are On The Rise In Canada & A Whopping $64 Million Was Lost In 2021

Check out these tips on keeping your money safe. 👇

Dating Scams Are On The Rise In Canada & A Whopping $64 Million Was Lost In 2021

Looking for love online can be a wild ride and — according to the Canadian Securities Administrators' — it can lead to scams that could cost you big bucks .

On Monday, February 14, the CSA shared information about 2021 and, apparently, investment and romance scams were the top two reported swindles of the year .

The group reported that romance fraud has increased by almost a quarter year over year and that the monetary loss was over $64 million in 2021, which is more than double 2020's number of $27 million.

Friend, Lover or Fraudster? Canadian Securities Administrators warns of online relationships turning into investment scams — CSA_News (@CSA_News) 1644869692

The group also warns that fraudsters are becoming more sophisticated in how they target Canadians, with people increasingly using social media and dating sites to bamboozle people into online relationships. They then leverage that friendship or romantic connection to request money for alleged investment opportunities.

They also warn that it can happen to anyone, regardless of age or demographic, but they do have some tips on how to keep your money safe.

The CSA says that you should be skeptical about unsolicited investment offers from people who have just entered your life and to never send money or invest with someone you've only met through social media or a dating site.

Another important step is to thoroughly research investment opportunities before you put out money and to avoid situations where there are "guarantees" of high returns with very little risk, as no such thing exists.

"Resist the pressure to invest immediately and ignore the fear of missing out," warns the CSA. "Scam artists use this tactic to make you focus on the reward aspect of their investment offer, and create a sense of urgency that prevents you from researching its legitimacy."

They also want you to know that it's totally ok to say "no."

"Fraudsters work hard to override your instincts with complex documents and the use of overcomplicated, inconsistent, jargon-filled explanations," the CSA says.

And if you don't understand it and your questions aren't being totally answered, just walk away!

This article's cover image was used for illustrative purposes only.

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romance writers of canada scam


Online Romance Scams Cost Canadians Millions

The key to not becoming a victim is to know what to watch for

By Matt Smith

Canadians lost more than $22.5 million in 2018 to fraudulent romantic partners they met on dating sites and through social media.

Romance scams usually follow a common pattern: a charming stranger woos the victim online, and an intense intimate relationship forms quickly. Once the victim is hooked, the scammer claims to be in trouble or in the midst of a personal tragedy and convinces the victim to send money, sometimes thousands and even hundreds of thousands of dollars.

The Canadian Anti Fraud Centre (CAFC) estimates that fewer than 5% of fraud cases are ever actually reported, so despite the prevalence of this scam, the total number of victims is much higher than we know.

Vigilance is key in avoiding being duped, and the CAFC lists some red flags to watch for:

Too good to be true Be cautious if the person’s profile seems too perfect, especially if there are few details about him or her. Often, there will be very few photos on the scammer’s account, and those will be pretty generic—usually because they were lifted from a stock image archive or another person’s online profile. You can do a reverse image search to see if this is the case, and it’s wise to do a web search for the person’s name, as well.

No face to face These scammers will go to great lengths to avoid having any contact with you beyond writing. You should be concerned if the person you are talking with repeatedly dodges suggestions to meet in person.

Moving fast Despite avoiding meeting in person, romance scammers try to escalate the intensity of the relationship as quickly as possible. Be wary of anyone professing love for you if you’ve never met in person.

Asking for money After they’ve gained your trust, romance scammers will come up with all sorts of excuses to ask for money. Often it’s to take care of a sick family member or even to buy a plane ticket to meet you. Never transfer money to someone you don’t know or provide any personal information such as banking details.

What can you do? If you’re concerned that you’ve being targeted in a romance scam, it’s best to severe contact immediately. As this type of scam is designed to prey on your emotions, you’ll likely get a lot of pleading from the scammer, but avoid further contact unless he or she can prove his or her identity.

If you’ve transferred money to someone, contact your bank as soon as possible to see if the transfer can be stopped. The bank can also flag your account as at risk for fraud in case your banking details have been compromised. Record any and all information you have about the scammer and contact your local police and the CAFC.

Photo: iStock/SiberianArt.

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Scam alert: Romance scams targeting Canadians isolated due to COVID-19

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While Valentine's Day can be a great way to spend some time with the person you love, the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre (CAFC) is reminding the public to stay vigilant for romance scams , especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Throughout the pandemic, there has been an increase in online scams targeting people who are isolated due to COVID-19 lockdowns and restrictions, particularly scammers targeting individuals looking for "companionship or love" through social media and dating sites.

In 2020, Canadians lost more than $18.5 million to romance scams.

How to romance scams commonly work?

Romance scams usually begin when a fraudster convinces someone to enter into an online relationship through social media and dating sites, to gain trust and affection to ultimately take their money.

Scammers will start by telling you they live nearby but, soon enough, they must go overseas for work, a medical emergency, to collect an inheritance, etc. This opens up the reasons for which they can then ask you for money. #RomanceScams #FraudChat — Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre (@canantifraud) February 11, 2021

Scammers commonly ask for money for travel or a medical of family emergency. They also may ask the victim to invest in cryptocurrency, join a business venture or receive money for the scammer, not knowing they may be committing a crime.

Common personas that scammers use: soldier in the army, oil worker, business person, gems dealer, and celebrities. They often steal the photos of real people to be the face of their fraud. #RomanceScams #FraudChat — Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre (@canantifraud) February 11, 2021

The CAFC has warned that scammers may ask to move the conversation outside of social media or a dating site, including email, text messages, Whatsapp and Google Hangouts. Some of the personas a fraudster may use in a romance scams are soldier in the army, oil worker, business person, gems dealer and celebrities.

These scammers continue to make excises for why they cannot meet in person and will often discourage the victim from talking about their relationship with friends and family, in an attempt to isolate the individual from anyone who may suspect their are falling for a scam.

The messages may also be poorly or oddly written, sometimes addressing someone with the wrong name.

Remain vigilant! #RomanceScams are often followed by recovery scams. The scammers may pretend to be from a government or law enforcement agency and promise to be able to get your money back. To get your money back, you need to pay advanced fees. #FraudChat — Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre (@canantifraud) February 11, 2021

The CAFC has also warned that romance scams are often followed by recovery scams , when fraudsters target a victim a second time, promising to get their money back.

Scams should be reported to the CAFC and local police.

romance writers of canada scam

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Romance Scams

Scammers will try anything to steal from you -- including posing as a potential love interest. BBB has tips to help you spot scammers and protect both your heart and your wallet.

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BBB Scam Alert: Romance scam promises a “sugar momma”

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Cryptocurrency scams are targeting people on popular dating sites and apps. Don't let your quest for love blind you to red flags.

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Scam Alert: This romance scam tricks victims into laundering money

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Help us investigate and warn others by reporting what you know about romance scams.

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This study looks at the inner workings of online romance scams and helps potential targets and reputable dating services avoid this widespread and devastating fraud

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Romance scam costs Ontario senior $140K

romance writers of canada scam

She lost her husband then lost most of her life savings in a romance scam in 2018.

romance writers of canada scam

Margaret, whose full name Global News agreed to withhold, lost about $140,000 last year after becoming the target of a fake suitor who stole her money.

“It was comforting to have somebody tell me these wonderful things about myself,” she said, describing an 11-month online relationship.

She never met the man, who called himself Bruce Alan and claimed to live in the United States.

READ MORE: B.C. senior swindled out of $300,000 in online romance scam

After her husband’s death, Margaret, age 75, said she was lonely and joined the dating site on the advice of a friend.

She had in-person dates with two men, but she said neither captured her interest. Then, she said Alan began his aggressive pursuit online.

“He started getting very romantic, writing me poems, telling me these things I hadn’t heard in years with my husband so ill,” said Margaret.

They talked on the phone frequently, sometimes at great length. Margaret said she enjoyed his company and thought they would eventually meet.

READ MORE: BBB issues reminder about online romance scams ahead of Valentine’s Day

Alan described a business trip he took to India. Margaret said he then called for money, claiming he had been arrested and needed money to bribe officials to get out. She said she paid US$12,000 at his request.

Later, Alan asked for money again. In all, Margaret said she sent him about $140,000, believing he would return the money. He did not.

At the time she was making large withdrawals, her financial adviser warned against releasing the money — and so did her bank.

“My bank manager said, ‘This is a scam, you don’t want to do this,’” said Margaret, a youthful senior who keeps fit by riding a bicycle, swimming two times a week, and using an exercise trampoline.

READ MORE: Peterborough woman loses $187,000 in ‘romance’ scam, police say

But she withdrew the money anyway, wiring it to the man’s account in North Bethesda, Maryland.

When the man called again in early December to ask for more money, she realized she had been duped. She called police and Global News.

In 2017, romance scams cost Canadians an estimated $17 million. Police and consumer agencies say it’s the second-highest money-maker for online scammers.

Margaret said she believes she fell victim because she was lonely and solitary after her husband’s death. She said her doctor believes early dementia may be another factor.

READ MORE: Victims of scams involving Western Union wire transfers eligible for refunds

As a result of the scam, Margaret said she had to sell her car and will be moving from her rental condominium at the end of January to save money.

“It really affected me at this point in my life. I worked so hard and it was taken away so quickly,” she said in an interview, adding her relationship with her daughters and grandchildren had been hurt too.

She said she wanted to speak out about her experience to warn others about the pitfalls of online dating. She said she learned an expensive lesson that you should never send away sums of money to a stranger, like she did.

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romance writers of canada scam

Love Hurts – RCMP Investigates Multi Million Dollar Online Romance Scam

romance writers of canada scam

Saskatchewan Federal Serious Organized Crime investigators (FSOC) have, through a lengthy complex investigation, determined five male individuals living in Regina have been operating a series of on-line "Romance" scams.

These scammers have defrauded seven women. They were victimized of over $360,000 over two years.

In January 2018, Saskatchewan RCMP received the complaint of an individual whose name was used without his permission and knowledge in a fraudulent transaction online.

Saskatchewan RCMP FSOC Unit investigated further and discovered that this incident of fraud was linked to several other frauds with victims across Canada.

As a result of this investigation, FSOC identified five individuals, living in Regina at the time these crimes were committed, who are suspected of being involved in the operation of these online scams.

Police determined the five individuals have ties to what is believed to be a larger international criminal organization involved in the long-term running of online romance scams.

This criminal organization was found to be responsible for defrauding victims of a combined total of over two million dollars through online romance scams over the past two years.

Concerning this investigation, on January 15, 2020, Saskatchewan RCMP arrested 28-year-old Austin Newton. He has been charged with the following:

RCMP need to locate 4 males, still at large, who police believe are responsible for these scams.

Saskatchewan RCMP has issued a Canada-wide warrant for the arrest of the other individuals involved in these romance scams. These individuals are facing different charges of fraud and possession of proceeds of crime. They are:

The four men could be anywhere in Canada. Anyone with information regarding the whereabouts of these four individuals is asked to call 306-310-RCMP (7267) or their local police service.

Information can also be submitted anonymously through Crime Stoppers by calling 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or submitting a tip online at

To inform the public about these online romance scams, Saskatchewan RCMP produced a video to share a public safety message highlighting the red flags of a fraudulent online romance.

For more information, visit

FSOC works in conjunction with domestic and international partners to disrupt, dismantle and support the prosecution of serious and organized crime groups and their members.

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Nearly 73,000 Americans lost more than $1 billion to romance scams in 2022

Nearly 73,000 Americans are set to lose more than $1 billion to romance scams in 2022

I’m so pleased we met. I love you. I can’t wait to see you. I’ve scheduled a flight for next month.

Finally, you’ve found your dream match. But then…

I’ve had an accident. Can you help me with my medical bills?

My luggage is stuck in customs. Can you submit some paperwork and payments for me?

Unfortunately, our estimates suggest that for nearly 73,000 Americans in 2022, the saying “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is” has likely become a haunting, real-life nightmare. Scammed for over $1 billion by fraudsters, not only have these victims been left out of pocket, but they’ve also been left humiliated, frightened, and heartbroken.

According to our estimates, 2022 may see a 10 percent year-on-year drop in the number of romance scams (from just over 81,000 in 2021 to 73,000 in 2022) but losses may exceed $1 billion for the first time. This suggests that scammers are perhaps using a much more targeted approach, stealing more money through a smaller number of scams.

Nevertheless, romance scams have risen exponentially in recent years (rising by over 30 percent from 2020 to 2021). Studies indicate that dating sites are at their busiest from the end of December to the middle of February, which could mean that dating scams are set to be even more frequent over the coming months.

To get an idea of the extent of romance scams on a state-by-state basis, Comparitech analyzed data from the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3), Federal Trade Commission (FTC), Better Business Bureau (BBB), and American Association of Retired Persons (AARP). Using 2021 data and all of the available data for 2022 so far, we’ve been able to create estimates for the entire year to try and understand the true picture of romance scams in 2022.

Key findings:

States with the highest rates of romance scams per 100,000 people

The states with the highest number of romance scams are also the most populous of the United States, so there isn’t much surprise with the figures. However, if we take a look at the rate of romance scams per 100,000 people, we can see that the top states aren’t the highly-populated ones. Rather, the states with the highest rates of romance scams are:

As the below map also shows, the highest rates of romance scams per 100,000 tend to be in western or northeastern states.

States with the highest number of romance scams and losses

The top four states with the highest number of romance scams and losses are:

States with the highest and lowest average loss per romance scam

Despite having high figures, only one of the above states made it into the top three highest average losses per scam (according to IC3 2021 data). The states with the highest average loss per romance scam were:

In contrast, the states with the lowest averages per romance scam were:

Did romance scams decline in 2022?

In 2020, the FTC alone received 41,463 reports of romance scams. This increased by around 44 percent in 2021 with 59,690 reports in total.

So far, the FTC has only released Q1, Q2, and Q3 figures for 2022, which amount to 39,438 cases. As noted previously, this is a 19 percent decrease on the same period last year (48,669). If Q4 follows a similar trend to 2021 (an average decrease of around 18 percent on Q3’s figures), we estimate that the FTC will receive 50,326 reports in total for 2022. While this figure would mean a 16 percent year-on-year decrease in overall case figures, the same cannot be said for the monetary values involved in these scams.

From Q1 to Q3 of 2022, the FTC saw losses of $2.016 billion to imposter scams overall (under which romance scams are included but no individual figures are available). This is over $300 million (17 percent) more than the losses noted in the same Q1 to Q3 period for 2021 during which $1.719 billion was lost. What this suggests, as we noted above, is that scammers are becoming more targeted in their approach. They may be carrying out fewer scams but are more successful in their extortion tactics.

FTC Romance Scams

Please note: The total romance scam figures reported by the FTC are always higher than the total of our individual state figures. This is due to some reports not being assigned to a specific state due to lack of location data.

Over the last five years (from 2016 to 2021), the IC3 has noted a huge increase in romance scams.

From 2016 to 2021, the IC3 has noted a 68 percent increase in romance scam reports (from 14,500 in 2016 to 24,300 in 2021) and a 335 percent increase in the amount lost to these scams (from $220 million in 2016 to $956 million in 2021). This has meant a 162 percent increase in the average amount lost per scam, too – increasing from $15,000 in 2016 to $39,300 in 2021.

Based on the IC3’s 2021 figures and the increase/decrease seen within each state, we estimate that romance scam cases reported to the IC3 could be around 21,000 in 2022. Using the average losses witnessed in 2021, this would equate to a total loss of $887 million in romance scams reported to the IC3 alone.

IC3 Figures - Romance Scams

BBB saw a large increase in romance scams from 2020 to 2021, rising by 43 percent from 184 to 264. Last year, the BBB noted 575 romance scams in its scam tracker, which more than doubles 2021’s figure. However, in 2022’s reports, many of the scams haven’t been assigned to a state. We only use the reports that were allocated to a state (251 in total) in our state estimates.

Nevertheless, the huge spike reported to the BBB appears to coincide with an influx in one particular type of scam–the Wrong Number Scam. This type of scam accounted for 354 of the romance scam reports submitted to the BBB. In this scam, individuals receive a text message from someone who claims they know them. Often, the scammer will ask a question or may send an explicit photo to try and elicit a response from the victim. Scammers then try to glean personal data and may ask for money to meet up with the victim.

Other popular scams included:

AARP fits a similar storyline with a sharp increase in reported cases from 2020 to 2021, rising 152 percent from 122 to 307 (a further 23 reported as unknown for 2021). In 2022, there were 269 romance scams reported to the AARP. This dip in figures would coincide with similar trends reported by the FTC.

Similar to the BBB, the AARP witnessed a growing trend in phone-based romance scams with explicit photos. In 45 of the reports submitted to the AARP, victims were blackmailed into sending money. After building a relationship with the victim, the scammer records an intimate video call with them and threatens to expose photos/videos to their friends and family via social media if an amount of money isn’t paid.

Even though 2022 may have seen some decline in report figures for some romance scams, the monetary amounts involved in these scams mean 2022 is likely to be a record-breaking year for romance scam losses.

Equally, the decline noted by the FTC may also be due to the type of romance scams that are growing in popularity–e.g. the wrong number scam noted above. With this scam involving a simple text message, many people may delete the message and never report it as a scam to the authorities. Also, people may feel embarrassed to report a scam involving explicit photographs, suggesting why we have seen a large spike in unknown reports at the BBB.

The true cost of romance scams to date could amount to over $526 billion

While the figures we mention above make for stark reading, it’s likely that they’re only half the story with many online scams going under the radar.

Romance scams are highly unreported due to many victims feeling ashamed of having been scammed and how difficult it is to trace the scammers. One survey conducted by the AARP found that 14 percent of US adults had been targeted by a relationship scam and 4 percent were a victim of this type of crime. 57 percent of victims lost money or suffered other financial losses due to these scams.

Based on the current US population of 331.9 million people and 4 percent of these having fallen victim to a romance scam, that would suggest that 13.3 million Americans have been victimized by a romance scammer.

Now, let’s compare that to the number of reports that have been received (up to 2021–we won’t include estimates here). IC3 data for romance scams goes back to 2011 with 150,877 reports. The FTC data goes back to 2012 with 215,740 reported. And the BBB received 1,248 reports from 2015 to 2021, while the AARP received 510 reports between 2019 and 2021. This gives us a total of 368,375 reports, which would mean just 2.8 percent of romance scams are reported.

Even if we allow some room for error and other reports (in previous years, romance scams were perhaps included in another category), we’re still just going to get a fraction of the 4 percent of people who fall victim to these scams each year.

Let’s take a look at how much money could have been lost in each state, based on 4 percent of the population being a victim of these scams and using 2021’s average loss per scam in each state (based on IC3’s data):

Based on the state data we have available for how much the average victim loses, and factoring in unreported romance scams, we can see that as much as $526 billion could have been lost to these scams.

What are the key warning signs of a romance scam?

If you do meet someone online, even if it seems like a natural occurrence (i.e. some scammers befriend people on apps like Words with Friends), look out for these key warning signs that they may be a scammer:

If any of these apply to someone you’ve just met or certain alarm bells are ringing, protect yourself by:


To get overall figures for all 50 states plus the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, we used 2021 data from the IC3, FTC, BBB, and AARP, and all of the available data for 2022 from the latter three.

IC3 Data: Data categorized as “Confidence/Romance Scams.” Reports are reviewed and researched before being passed on to federal, state, local, or international law enforcement or regulatory agencies. To estimate 2022’s figures, we used the percentage increase witnessed in each state from 2020 to 2021 before multiplying by the average loss per victim seen in 2021.

For example, in Alabama, romance scams rose from 226 to 259 from 2020 to 2021. That’s a 15 percent increase year on year. This percent increase was then applied to 2021’s figure (259) to estimate 2021’s figure of 297. The average victim loss in Alabama in 2021 was $25,299. This was then multiplied by our estimated number of cases for 2022 to get a total $ amount lost for the year ($7,509,087).

FTC Data: As the FTC doesn’t provide state-by-state figures for romance scams (as it is a subcategory of imposter scams), we calculate the percentage of overall imposter scams that relate to romance scams based on the total figures available. For Q1, Q2 and Q3 of 2022, this was 9.54 percent. The $ amount lost is derived from overall figures provided by the FTC. A median loss of $2,400 per scam was noted in 2021. This figure was also used for our 2022 estimates.

In order to estimate Q4 figures for the FTC, we looked at the percent increases (or decreases) noted by the FTC in the same reporting periods for 2021 (in each state). These were then applied accordingly to gather estimates for the final quarter of 2022.

For example, in Alabama, there were 1,999 imposter scams recorded in Q3 of 2021. 8 percent of this (to calculate the estimated number of romance scams) is 160. From Q3 to Q4 of 2021, Alabama saw an 11.61 percent decrease in imposter scams/romance scams. An 11.61 percent decrease on 160 is 141 which provides us with the estimated figure for Q4 of 2022.

BBB Data: Data categorized as “Romance Scams” and submitted against companies – i.e., fraudulent dating websites, psychics, and romance scammers who ask people to send money to a business. Complaints were investigated by the BBB.

AARP Data: Data categorized as “Online Dating Scams.” Help may be provided or cases may be referred to local law enforcement.

When discussing the overall figures for the IC3 and FTC, figures may be higher than the total of all the states included in our study. This is due to our study only featuring the 50 states plus the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. The IC3 and FTC include other areas, e.g. the U.S. Virgin Islands and American Samoa. Some cases don’t have location data so aren’t assigned to a specific state.

State populations:

Researcher: Charlotte Bond

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Romance Scams Explode, Leaving Broken Hearts and Millions Lost

The pandemic led to a boom in dating fraud. Banks and wealth managers are rushing to keep up.

Rebecca Rosebrough lost about $24,000 after being scammed by a man she met on Facebook five years ago. More than 95,000 people in the US reported fraud initiated on social-media platforms in 2021, with losses totaling about $770 million.

Rebecca Rosebrough lost about $24,000 after being scammed by a man she met on Facebook five years ago. More than 95,000 people in the US reported fraud initiated on social-media platforms in 2021, with losses totaling about $770 million.

Suzanne Woolley ,

Misyrlena Egkolfopoulou and

Claire Ballentine

It’s an age-old tale: love gone wrong, a jilted partner left in the lurch. Only now, the story is colliding with the very modern phenomenon of online fraud.

Digital romance scams have surged over the past two years, leading to millions of dollars in losses for people who were wooed and then duped out of money. While con artists have long been a part of life on the internet, experts say the trend exploded as Covid-19 lockdowns created the perfect opportunity for swindlers seeking lonely targets. 


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