Most and least dangerous states for online dating: study

Anyone with an account on Tinder or Bumble could tell you that finding love online can be dicey. But rather than just not clicking or being unattracted to their matches, users have reported romance scams, unwitting dates with sex offenders and even violence.

But the venue of a first date – not just the restaurant, but the U.S. state – can help predict how likely it is for romantic hopefuls to find trouble, according to data amassed by Privacy Journal

Online dating is no longer an anomaly and not always a last resort, with one-third of American adults reporting that they use one of the many online dating services available, according to Forbes Health.

Privacy Journal researchers ranked the 50 states by using data from the FBI, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Federal Trade Commission and the Internet Crime Complaint Center to analyze where dating app users may be most likely to find danger.

Here are the most dangerous states for online dating.

1. Nevada

It's not just casinos that are out for your money. Primarily due to the prevalence of scams, online dating reportedly can be quite a gamble in the Silver State

Nevada has the second-highest rate of romance scams in the country with 8.1 out of every 100,000 people falling victim. Its residents are third-most likely to be victims of fraud with 442 of every 100,000 falling victim, and they are fourth-most likely to have their identities stolen.

2. Alaska

Some crime researchers have correlated higher temperatures with higher crime rates, with one USC study finding that violent crime increased by 5.7% on days hotter than 85 degrees. Regardless, the coldest U.S. state was ranked the second-most dangerous locale to date online due to its high sexually transmitted disease (STD) and crime rates as well as its high concentration of sex offenders.

Out of 100,000 Alaskans, 1,080 reported having an STD, which is the third-highest rate in the nation. Mississippi has the highest STD rate at 1,243 reports per 100,000 residents, but it does not rank in the top 5 of the most dangerous due to its lower scores for other risk factors.

Alaska also has the second-highest violent crime rate with 759 of 100,000 reporting assaults each year, which is nearly 1 in every 100. The state has the third-highest rate of romance scams with 7.9 of 100,000 residents falling victim; 454 of 100,000 are registered sex offenders, according to the data.

3. Georgia

Along with peaches, peanuts and pecans, Georgia apparently has the highest rate of cybercrime victims of both identity theft and fraud, according to the study. 

A total of 358 per every 100,000 Georgians have their identities stolen each year, while 470 fall victim to other types of fraud.

Although Georgia is among the top 10 states in terms of STD rates, it enjoys the fourth-lowest rate of romance scams in the U.S. with only 3.9 victims per every 100,000 people, which is a rate much lower than several of the states deemed the safest by the study. It's also right in the middle for violent crimes and rates of registered sex offenders.

4. Florida

Even those looking for love online aren't safe from "Florida Man." Florida is the second-worst state in terms of identity theft, with 342 of 100,000 residents falling victim, and fraud, with 462 of every 100,000 residents reporting these crimes.

Although your wallet may be at risk along with your heart in the Sunshine State, per the study, the threat of violence isn't as high as other contenders. Florida is in the bottom 10 nationwide for sex offender rates and the bottom 15 for violent crime, per the study.

5. Arizona

Guard your heart in Arizona. It's the state with the highest prevalence of romance scams in the country with 9.2 of 100,000 residents targeted each year. Its residents have the 10th-highest rate of venereal diseases nationwide and the eighth-highest rate of fraud.

A romance scam happens when a person "adopts a fake online identity to gain a victim's affection and trust," according to the FBI.

"The scammer’s intention is to establish a relationship as quickly as possible, endear himself to the victim, and gain trust. Scammers may propose marriage and make plans to meet in person, but that will never happen. Eventually, they will ask for money," a portion of the FBI's website reads.


tinder app iphone

FILE - The Tinder app is seen on an iPhone mobile device. (STR/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Here are the safest states for online dating.

1. Vermont

With its persistent appearance at the top of quality-of-life rankings, it's no surprise that the Green Mountain State ranked as the safest place to date online in the country.

Vermont boasts the country's lowest per capita STD rate in the country, has the second-lowest rate of reported identity theft and ranks no worse than 14th from the bottom on any of Privacy Journal's criteria.

2. Maine

With the lowest per capita crime rate in the country, the Pine Tree State is the second-safest for online dating in the country.

Study writers acknowledged that there isn't much research on the correlation between population-wide crime rates and online dating apps, but it noted that a lower prevalence of crime would make everyone safer, including those dating on the internet.

Mainers also enjoy the third-lowest STD rate in the country, per the data.

3. New Hampshire

Another New England state rounded out the top three safest, per the study, with New Hampshire ranking in third place.

Sandwiched between Vermont and Maine, New Hampshire has the second-lowest rate of both violent crime and STDs in the country. It also has the 13th-lowest rate of registered sex offenders.

4. Kentucky

In addition to fried chicken, blue grass and the Derby, Kentucky enjoys bottom 10 rankings in fraud, identity theft and violent crime.


5. Idaho

The Gem State is the safest for dating west of the Mississippi River with the fourth-fewest venereal diseases per capita and the 10th lowest rates of violent crime and identity theft.


However, Idahoans aren't completely in the clear. Their state is among the top half of states for romance scams and registered sex offenders.

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