In April of 2020, the coronavirus became increasingly worse in the United States, forcing many states to force a “stay at home” law and also forcing non-essential businesses to shut down. Amusement parks and retail shops all across the country have shut down to “flatten the curve” and stop the spread of the virus.
Because of this difficult time, single Americans have found other alternative ways to mingle on online dating sites. There are also others who are rushing things with the person they were talking to before the coronavirus so that they aren’t bored and lonely during this time.
How Has Online Dating Increased Because of the Coronavirus?
Since most of us are legally obliged to stay at home to flatten the curve, singles are trying to find alternative methods to obtain a partner. Because of this, they have turned to online dating more-so now than ever.
Bumble has reported a 21% message increase in the United States, with even bigger increases where the Coronavirus has plagued the most. For example, in San Francisco Bumble messages have increased by 26% and in New York City they have increased by 23%. Bumble has even used the Coronavirus as an advertising campaign, encouraging users to swipe left or right still by coming up with banners that state that social distancing does not equal loneliness.
Tinder has also seen an increase with 10-15% increase a week because of this virus. Countries that were hit the hardest when this started, Italy and Spain, saw a 25% increase in people using Tinder. They have also encouraged users to use their app during this difficult time by making Tinder Passport free so that you can match all over the world.
Because of this, romance/catfishing scams are bound to go up in 2020, especially in states where the coronavirus is more prominent. Here is the romance scam data state-by-state from 2019:
According to IC3, California is number one in the rankings for most victims of online catfishing and currently number 3 for the most coronavirus cases in the United States. Because of this, the social distancing rules in California are a lot stricter than in other states, making people rely on online dating more-so there. Therefore, there will most likely be a spike in online catfishing in this state in 2020.
Washington, Florida, and New York are also within the top 6 states to have catfishing cases and remain among the top of states dealing with the Coronavirus. This would also mean that they are on the same boat as California with stricter social distancing laws and more people within the states. This would lead to online dating to suppress the loneliness and lead to more catfishing cases within these states.
Top 10 States With the Most Catfishing Victims:
- California – 2,206
- Florida – 1,363
- Texas – 1,287
- New York – 931
- Pennsylvania – 607
- Washington – 548
- Illinois – 518
- Virginia – 468
- Ohio – 456
- Georgia – 437
Last 10 States/Territories With the Least Amount of Catfishing Victims:
- Wyoming – 44
- District of Columbia – 36
- North Dakota – 36
- South Dakota – 27
- Vermont – 23
- Guam – 6
- Virgin Islands – 4
- Northern Mariana Islands – 2
- The United States Minor Outlying Islands – 1
- American Samoa – 0
The total amount of catfishing victims in the United States is 16,368. Out of this amount, 5,048 of these victims came from the states where coronavirus has hit the hardest, which makes this 31% of the cases in the United States. Therefore, if you are in these states and looking to online date to keep from being lonely, be careful and make sure you are talking to the person you think you are talking to.
How Has Online Dating Changed Due to COVID-19?
As people match and meet with one another on dating apps, video chatting and getting to know each other has become the most popular way to go about meeting someone at the moment. This helps single people cope with the loneliness, knowing that they have people they can connect with on a dating app, even if they can’t meet with them in person right now.
People are going on online dates via video chat, making their own meals and drinks to enjoy as they talk to the person from the dating app on their computer. People will still go all out to make themselves look nice and enjoy a nice lunch or dinner with the person, except through a webcam. Hell, people are even playing online video games together to get to know one another.
There are also people just looking to “have a little fun” over a webcam without taking anything to the next level. People match with one another and then “hook up” over some casual video chat or picture fun to spice up being in quarantine.
There are also people who trick others into thinking they want relationships, knowing that people are desperate in finding someone to keep them company during this quarantine. They get to know them on a dating app, and then once they gain the victim’s trust ask for money or inappropriate images from that person.
Signs of Romance Scams During the Coronavirus
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!