Catfishing has grown along with technology and online dating apps. Loneliness, depression, and boredom have driven people to seek companionship online.

People have found love through these platforms. However, it's not all rainbows and butterflies. Some dangers also come with it. 

Catfishing incidents have increased by 33% from 2018 to 2020, with 40% of cases on dating apps. While it is not always malicious, it should not be ignored.

Read on for essential statistics on catfishing.

Editor's Choice

  • 22% of people send nudes to catfishers.
  • 51% of online daters who pose as single are in a relationship.
  • 42% of those on Tinder already have a partner.
  • 24% of romance scammers claim they or someone close to them is sick.
  • 40% of men admit to lying about their finances.
  • 20% of women lie about their age.
  • 41% of catfishers said that they were motivated by loneliness.
  • Victims of catfishing in the US  lost $600 in 2020.

How Many People Get Catfished?

Catfishing costs $600 million worldwide. About 20,000 people are catfished per year in the US, with 41% of US adults online reporting being victims in 2020.

Covid-19 caused people to resort to technology for their needs and wants. Technology has been helpful, but along with its benefits came its downsides. Other people have used it to take advantage of other people. 

Catfishing remains a risk today. Check out catfishing statistics, demographics, motives, and results below! 

General Catfishing Statistics 

Realizing you're being catfished before the other person reveals themselves is possible. There are several red flags to watch out for, such as not wanting to meet in person or saying their video-call camera is broken.

Even though it sounds easy to spot, there is no simple solution to catfishing. It is not a crime, yet it is also not a victimless act. Here are some statistics that show that catfishing still exists today: 

1. 20% of men admit that they have been catfished more than five times.

(Sugar Cookie)

Some studies show that men are more vulnerable to catfishing than women. 43% of men have been catfished. This is 25% greater than the percentage of women who have been catfished.

These numbers show that men tend to give in to catfishing traps more than women. The reason for this is still unknown. 

2. 22% of people send nudes to catfishers.


"White Plastic," a catfish, revealed in one interview that he made a business out of catfishing. He tricked people online by posing as a celebrity on YouTube and later asking for nudes. He then sold these nudes to other people.

In the interview, he blamed the victims for being dumb enough to send those photos. White Plastic is only one of the 20% who admitted asking for nudes when catfishing.

What is more alarming is that 22% of people send nudes to catfishers. It is 2% more than those who admit they asked for nudes!

Social Media Catfishing Statistics

By definition itself, catfishing is only possible with the internet. More than half of the people in the world use social media. A typical internet user spends 2 ½ hours using it, making social media a market for predators. 

3. 85% of catfishing scams start on Facebook.

(VPN Overview, Oberlo)

Facebook has about 3 billion users. Among those, 86 million are fake accounts. In 2019, it launched Facebook dating. Because of its accessibility, it has been an easy medium for catfishing. 

Facebook is a huge company and the 7th most valuable brand in the world. With this popularity and wealth, you would expect it to have a safeguard against fraud, but that's not the case. 

Nev Schulman's catfishing story started on Facebook. Like most social media, anyone can create an account and upload pictures easily. 

4. 51% of online daters who pose as single are in a relationship.

(Dating Advise, The Guardian)

Tinder is an app that helps people find someone who matches them. However, not all profiles on dating apps such as Tinder are honest. 

42% of those on Tinder already have a partner. 30% are married, and 12% are already in a relationship. 51% of those who pose as single are already in a relationship. 

In addition to pretending to be single, they lie on their profiles to hide from their partners. They are either cheating or trying to determine if their partner is cheating.

5. 27% of online daters say they have been catfished within 12 months. 

(UK Finance, VPN Alert)

In 2022, 366 million individuals dated online. Over half of the online daters trusted their online match before meeting them.  

People download dating apps to find love. After swiping right, finding a match, and talking to them, they discover they have been tricked. 

Moreover, 20% of these people, hoping to find love online, admit they have been asked for money. Catfishing predators use victims' emotions to gain trust and extort them. 

6. 24% of romance scammers claim they or someone close to them is sick.

(VPN Alert)

The identity of romance scammers is a myth. They not only lie about their identity but also lie to extort money from people. 

On dating apps, the victims may trust their dates enough to listen to them when they say they are sick. It has become their most used lie.

Catfishing Demographic Statistics

Men and women can catfish and be catfished. One of the reasons people cite for catfishing is to explore their sexuality.

They attract their targets by lying about their age, status, and gender. Around 24% of catfishers pose as a different gender. Let's look at their demographic profiles:

7. 64% of catfishers are women. 

(Inner Peace Behavioral Health)

Men tend to believe what they see online. 20% of victimized men admit they have been catfished more than five times. Men are also 25% more likely to fall for a catfishing scam than women.

Women are often thought of as fragile. However, the numbers show the opposite. Catfishing capitalizes on emotions. It could be why men are likelier to give in to deception than women. 

8. 40% of men admit to lying about their finances.

(Psychology Today)

Men tend to lie about their finances or status, while women tend to lie about their appearance. 20% of women on dating apps posted younger photos of themselves. 

People use dating apps in hopes of attracting someone of the opposite gender. Men are attracted to looks, while women are attracted to men who can provide.

Catfishing Reasons and Results Statistics

People catfish for different reasons: money, insecurity, and sexual exploration. People cite personal motives for catfishing, but the effects are not personal. Catfishing costs a fortune. Here are the reasons why people catfish and their results:

9. Romance scams in 2020 cost $304 million.


Romance scams cost 50% more in 2020 than in 2019. Because of COVID-19, people were forced to stay in their homes. It resulted in more screen time and, in turn, more possible targets. 58% of online daters said they noticed an increase in fake profiles in 2020.

10. Loneliness was the motivation for 41% of catfishers.

(Screen and Reveal, The Cybersmile Foundation)

The pandemic slowed people's social lives, and people started being lonely. Catfishing was also attributed to lonely childhoods and low self-esteem. Insecurity is another reason for catfishing. 

People eased their loneliness by fooling other people. 

11. Victims of catfishing in the US lost about $600 million in 2020.

(Screen and Reveal)

In 2019, the victims of catfishing lost about $475 million. This loss increased in 2020, losing about $600.

Some people catfish for financial gain. They present themselves as pitiful and take money from their victims. Sometimes, they make the victim trust them enough to share relevant information. 

Catfishing has low capital. Pictures on social media are readily available. Catfishers can use these pictures to extort money from people when coupled with lies. 

The Bottom Line

It only takes one incident of catfishing for damage to happen. You could lose a sum of money or even your life.

The Riverside Catfishing Murders killed the three family members of the catfished victim. She was a 15-year-old who met the perpetrator online.

Catfishers use fake or stolen identities to get money or information they can use against them. They want people to engage so that they can get what they want. 

Although the victim of a catfishing incident should not be blamed, we should be more careful with our online connections.