The Safest and Most Dangerous States for Online Dating in 2021
This month marks the world’s first Valentine’s Day post-global COVID-19 lockdown, and it’s sure to be an interesting one with Zoom dates aplenty.
But before you meet up with that special someone (preferably online or from six feet away), know that there are still risks out there. The Federal Bureau of Investigation has long warned that dating apps attract catfishers looking to spark up phony romances in hopes of a payout. Health experts have also blamed the ease and relative anonymity of online dating apps for a resurgence of STDs.
The risks may be even greater during the pandemic, as more people go online for socially-distanced first dates. And you may have to be extra cautious depending on where you live.
Hearts in bloom in West Virginia.
Our team of researchers analyzed recent government data to see which states have the highest rates of cybercrime and STD cases and which have the lowest.
Our data finds that West Virginia is the safest state for online dating. It has record-low rates of online crimes1 and very few STD2 cases per capita.
Maine—our top-ranked state for 2020—ranks second on our list. Vermont and New Hampshire come in third and fourth place, suggesting that New England might be just the right place to find love over the web.
Here are the top 10 safest states for online dating:
- West Virginia
- New Hampshire
- South Dakota
- North Dakota
Woes of passion in Alaska.
On the other end of the spectrum, we found that Alaska ranks as the most dangerous state for online dating—a position it’s now held for four years in a row.
The Land of the Midnight Sun has one of the country’s smallest populations, but rates for syphilis across the state are the highest they’ve ever been.3 Alaskans have also been especially vulnerable to online fraud, which includes “romance scams” in which victims are targeted on dating apps.4
The Southwestern states of Nevada, Colorado, and New Mexico also made it on our top-ten for most dangerous states. No matter where you are, though, always be careful not to send money to a stranger you’ve just met online.
Here are the top 10 most dangerous states for online dating:
- New Mexico
Cupid meets COVID.
Unless you’ve just gotten vaccinated, there’s a good chance you’re still locked inside like the rest of us. So it’s understandable if you need some companionship.
Just be careful when you swipe right. Romance scammers have started introducing coronavirus themes into their phony sob stories.5 And STDs remain an epidemic of their own.6
With a little time and care, though, you can cut out the bad and finally meet the Sugarboo of your dreams.
We ranked states based on FBI statistics about cybercrime victims and total funds lost to digital fraudsters. We also analyzed data about STD cases in each state from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
To come up with our rankings, we normalized each state’s numbers on a 0–1 scale, with 1 corresponding to the measurement that would most positively affect the final score and 0 corresponding to the measurement that would most negatively affect the final score. These adjusted measurements were then added together to get a score of 100.
- Federal Bureau of Investigation, “2019 Internet Crime Report,” February 11, 2020. Accessed February 2, 2021.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Sexually Transmitted Disease Surveillance 2018,” October 8, 2019. Accessed February 2, 2021.
- Dana Zigmund, The Peninsula Clarion, “Syphilis Infections Are Surging in Alaska,” February 1, 2021. Accessed February 2, 2021.
- Sarah Coble, Infosecurity Magazine, “Alaska Named America’s Riskiest State for Cybercrime,” November 29, 2019. Accessed February 2, 2021.
- Sue Carlton, Tampa Bay Times, “Coronavirus Crisis Gives a New Twist to Internet Romance Scams,” November 19, 2020. Accessed February 2, 2021.
- Marcus Plescia, Elizabeth Ruebush, Health Affairs, “In the Shadows of COVID-19, a Devastating Epidemic Rages On,” July 13, 2020. Accessed February 2, 2021.
Author - Peter Holslin
Peter Holslin has spent more than a decade writing for Rolling Stone, VICE, BuzzFeed, and countless other publications. He graduated with a BA in liberal arts and journalism from New York City’s The New School University in 2008. Since then, he has roved from city to city and lived overseas, mastering his craft as an editor, staff writer, and freelancer while also acquiring ninja-like skills to address feeble Wi-Fi speeds and other internet challenges.
Editor - Aaron Gates