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Wisconsin is the 3rd worst state for catfishing

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(WQOW)- If you found your Valentine online, officials warn you to be careful you're not being catfished.

Catfishing is when someone sets up a fake online persona to scam another person.

According to FBI data collected by BestVPN, Wisconsin ranks 3rd for the worst state for catfishing.

Data shows catfishing claimed more than $300 million last year, which is an increase to previous years.

Social media expert and UW-Eau Claire criminal justice professor Justin Patchin said he's not surprised because Wisconsinites and Midwesterners are always eager to help others.

He said people should approach online interactions with healthy skepticism.

"Really anytime anybody asks for money online, especially a significant amount of money, take a pause," Patchin said. "Try to get more information, try to verify it through third parties."

Patchin said if you are a victim of catfishing you should contact police.

He said if you are catfishing people and stealing money that's fraud and you could be arrested.

He said just about everything is traceable online.

Shannon Satterlee

Shannon Satterlee joined News 18 in February 2018 as a Multi-Media Journalist.

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