A new study found South Carolina is the No. 9 state when it comes to reported cases of fraud.
Security.org released the study on the Most Common Type of Fraud In Each State using 2019 Federal Trade Commission data. The study examined the 10 most common forms of identity theft, fraud and financial scams in every state to determine the rankings.
Nationally, two-thirds of Americans have been victims of fraud and reported cases of fraud increased by 4% in 2018 as compared to 2017.
The most common types of fraud in South Carolina involve debt collection, imposter scams and identity theft.
And while most South Carolinians may read the word “catfishing” and think of a trip to the river or lake, curbing fraud means becoming familiar with another meaning.
Despite warnings from the FTC, a public NFL victim and an MTV reality show, the number of “catfishing” victims increased by 50% in 2018 compared to three years ago. South Carolina ranked No. 28 in the country with 187 reported victims.
Catfishing is when someone fakes an online identity to scam victims for money, romance or physical harm. These online relationships can last for months or even years.
SocialCatfish.com -- a resource to verify online identities -- released the study on The Number of Catfish Victims in Each State using data from the FBI for 2018.
It offers five signs that a person is being catfished:
• If they ask for money: This may sound so obvious, but if the online friend or romantic interest whom you have never met asks you to send money or provide your bank information, you are being catfished.
• If they can’t meet in person: If the person strings you along without meeting in person. They may even eventually agree to a day or time but have an “emergency” that day such as a cancelled flight or a medical issue.
• If they are stationed overseas: If they claim to be stationed overseas or working on an oil rig as an excuse for not meeting.
• If they can’t video chat: If the person refuses to video chat ever.
• If they seem to good to be true: Some people who catfish feel bad about themselves and take on the online persona of a model or successful businessperson and the like.
It seems at every turn there is someone or multiple people working to rip you off. Perhaps it has always been that way for humankind, but today’s technology has expanded the ways in which people can be taken advantage of. Vigilance is vital.
To avoid becoming a victim, thoroughly fact-check and verify online identities before meeting in person or providing any information about yourself.