new study shows online dating is surging during Coronavirus, and New York residents are the No. 4 most at-risk for online romance scams.

Online daters seeking love were scammed out of $362 million in 2018, a 70% increase from the previous year.

During the pandemic, online dating platform Bumble reported a 21% increase. Hard hit states New York and San Francisco were even higher at 26% and 23% respectively. Tinder reported a 10-15% weekly increase and the hardest hit countries like Spain and Italy are up 25%.

One thing is clear, romance and catfishing scams are bound to go up even higher in 2020, especially in places where the coronavirus is more prominent.

  1. They want to move fast in the relationship. This is their way of gaining your trust so that they can ask you anything and have you want to do it to help them. If this happens to you, don’t fall for it. Move your relationship at a normal pace you are comfortable with.
  2. They don’t want to video chat with you. This is usually because they are not who they say they are and are just trying to hide that fact from you. If they don’t want to video chat with you during this time, then it is a huge red flag and you should move on with the next match. Also, if they say they can’t meet with you or video chat with you because they have the virus, it’s also time to move on because more than likely they aren’t telling the truth.
  3. They guilt-trip you into giving them money. They will usually come up with excuses like I need money to cure me of the virus, or my loved one has the virus and I need help. If they ask for money, do not give it to them.
  4. They have poor grammar. If they claim to be from the United States yet don’t know how to write sentences or spell words, that is definitely a red flag.

So if you are online dating during the coronavirus, take precautions and practice social distancing. Make sure you go on video chat dates to make sure you are talking to the person that they say they are. Do not meet anyone in person at this time, and if you feel the need to use an online dating app then make sure that you are not being catfished. You can even lookup their information using a reverse search on Social Catfish!