Online dating has gone mainstream. Research shows 40 million Americans use dating apps to find a relationship, according to eHarmony. But online dating can be dangerous.
The growing popularity of online dating makes it the most popular way for couples to connect. The more traditional ways to meet people, like through family, friends, or at local gathering places like church, have been on the decline since 1940, according to research from Stanford.
Thirty-nine percent of heterosexual American couples met through online dating in 2019, according to Stanford, up from 22% in 2009.
While many people find relationships through today’s tech, it’s not always a pleasant experience. In fact, online dating can be downright dangerous. Not everyone online is looking for love. Some people use the sites to look for victims. Research shows:
• 10% of sex offenders use dating sites
• 1 in 10 users on free dating apps are scammers
• Sexual assaults linked to online dating platforms have grown six-fold in the last five years [Source]
As more people turn to online dating platforms, safety concerns will continue to grow. It’s important for every citizen – no matter where they live – to understand the risks of online dating. As a helpful tool, BackgroundChecks.org crunched data, some of which included cybercrime statistics, romantic fraud rates, and violent crime stemming from online interactions, to see which states are more dangerous for online dating. Here’s what we found:
Alaska is the most dangerous state for online dating
People looking for love in Alaska, beware. The Frontier State ranks as the most dangerous state for online dating.
Each state was given a danger score. Alaska’s score is 12x higher than the safest state on the list.
Why is Alaska so dangerous? There are many factors, but Alaska has a high rate of romance fraud. Overall, there were 85 reported cases of romance fraud in 2018, according to the FBI, which correlates to the highest number of victims per capita in the U.S. In addition, Alaskans lost an estimated $1 million to online dating scams.
Vermont is the safest state for online dating
Four thousand miles away from Alaska is the safest state for online dating: Vermont. The state has the lowest danger score, making it the least risky state to meet someone through a dating app.
Why is Vermont so safe? There are a lot of factors, but Vermont has just 25 reported cases of online fraud in 2018, with reported losses just below $130,000. In comparison to Alaska, with 85 cases and losses north of $1 million, Vermont’s online dating scene is quite a bit safer.
Top 5 most dangerous states for online dating
Alaska is a daunting place to find an online date, but there are other states that are setting off warning bells too. Nevada and California make the list of perilous states to find a mate online. Here’s a look at the five most dangerous states for online dating:
Arizona ranks as the 14th most dangerous state for online dating.
Top 5 safest states for online dating
Online dating in Vermont is the safest, but there are other states where online dating is less likely to result in being scammed, lied to, or physically harmed. West Virginia and Montana also have low danger scores. Here’s a look at the five safest states for online dating:
2. West Virginia
3. New Hampshire
Online dating dangers: Which states are the most alarming?
The level of online dating danger varies across the U.S. To find out how dangerous your state is, check the heat map below. States in dark green are the most dangerous. States in light green are the safest.