More people in Texas are being scammed on the internet than any other state except for California, according to a new study by Social Catfish.

A whopping $606,179,646 has been stolen from a total of 41,148 Texas residents, according to the site's research. The average theft from each victim is approximately $18,302, which is nothing to bat an eye at. Moreover, the amount of money stolen by online scammers has doubled in the United States since the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2019, $3.5 billion was stolen online. In 2021, that number jumped to a staggering $6.9 billion.

A significant portion of online money scams often seen in the United States are what you would call "romance scams." Those can happen pretty easily. Someone takes advantage of a person's loneliness and cons them into falling in love with them and sending them money.

You might think that only stupid people are fooled into falling for those scams, but studies show that up 75 percent of the victims are actually college-educated folks. It can happen to anyone, and 84 percent of romance scam victims make less than $100,000/year. It makes it all the more evil when you realize that the majority of people that are stolen from are not even wealthy to begin with. They're simply far too trusting.

Tech-savvy teenagers have also been targeted even more by online scammers. Between 2017 and 2021, high school seniors saw a 390 percent increase in scams. It might be a good idea to talk to your teenagers about online safety, especially if any of your credit cards are attached to their accounts.

Cryptocurrency scams are also really out of control right now. $1.6 billion dollars were lost in 2021 to cryptocurrency scams, which is nearly 7 times as many as those reported in 2020. Always watch out for anyone online asking to be paid in crypto.

Some great ways to avoid being scammed online include: Never giving money to someone you have never met in person; never giving out your personal information to anyone you've never met in person; reverse searching anyone you have not met for a photo, email address, number, or address to try to verify they are who they are claiming to be before sending them money; avoid anyone who uses poor grammar or refuses to video chat with you; and make sure you keep your passwords protected.

For more information on how to avoid online scams, click here.

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