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Arizonans lost $18M to catfishing scams last year

A new FBI report shows more than 600 Arizonans fell victim in 2021 to someone online they thought they could romantically trust.

PHOENIX — Arizonans lost more than $120 million to various types of internet crimes last year, making it one of the highest-ranking states for victims of cyber scams.

A new report recently released by the FBI shows Arizona ranked 11th among the states with the most victims of internet crimes. 

One of the most common scams reported in Arizona involves victims falling prey to scammers pretending to be someone they can trust online. 

More than 650 Arizonans fell victim to a romance scam in 2021 where they were manipulated by someone adopting a fake online identity. The victim losses resulting from Arizona's romance scams had a total value of $18 million last year.

The number of romance scam victims in Arizona has significantly grown from the 419 reported in 2019, according to the FBI reports. 

On a national level, the number of people falling victim to romance scams increased from 19,473 in 2019 to 24,299 in 2021.

"Many victims of romance scams also report being pressured into investment opportunities, especially using cryptocurrency," the FBI report states.

Other types of frequent cyber crimes in Arizona involve extortion, data breaches, fraudulent investments, and identity theft.

The largest victim loss in Arizona resulted from business email compromises or scammers impersonating CEOs and tricking employees to wire them money.

Arizona's most common age demographic for victims of internet crimes are residents in their 30s, according to the report.

RELATED: Yes, scammers use e-signature services like DocuSign to send emails with malicious links

RELATED: 'Nothing that I said worked': Arizona ranks No. 2 in US for robocalls

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