LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Nevada residents were duped out of $91 million by online scammers in 2021, more than double the previous year, according to a study by SocialCatfish.com.

Released Wednesday, the study by the website that helps users verify true identities and warns of online fraud revealed 17,706 victims in the state lost an average of $4,728 in 2021. In 2020 the study showed state residents were scammed out of $44 million.

Nationwide, online scams cost Americans $6.9 billion, SocialCatfish.com says, up from $3.5 billion in 2019. The amount lost has nearly doubled in the the U.S. since the start of the pandemic, the study says.

The study — the State of Internet Scams 2022 — uses data from the the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center and the Federal Trade Commission, released in 2022, and a poll of 3,047 romance scams victims who are among the company’s reverse search users, according to the website.

These scams, which range from romance/dating sites to cryptocurrency and investment offers, are highly sophisticated, the study finds, and shows that more highly educated people and large corporations are increasingly becoming victims.

The website offers these tips for avoiding online scams:

  • Do not give money to anyone you have never met in person.
  • Do not give out personal information if you have never met in person
  • Perform a reverse search using photos, emails, phone numbers, and addresses to verify if the person or entity you are speaking to online is who they say they are. 
  • Five big red flags include poor grammar, refusing to video chat, being in the military, working overseas, asking to be paid in gift cards or cryptocurrency.
  • Use a password manager to create many passwords so if one has been compromised the rest of your accounts are protected.

View the study at SocialCatfish.com.