JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – If you’re looking for love this Valentine’s Day, you’re not alone.
Research shows millions of Americans are using dating apps and websites, but a new report released by BackgroundChecks.org may make you think twice before going online to find a relationship.
The report used data -- including cybercrime statistics, romantic fraud rate and violent crime stemming from online interactions -- to find which five states in the county are the most dangerous for online dating.
Florida came in at No. 4, behind Alaska, which the report ranked as the most dangerous state for online dating. The reason? Data shows Alaska has a high rate of romance fraud, according to the report.
As for the safest state for online dating, the report ranked Vermont as No. 1.
Below are the report’s rankings of the top five most dangerous and the top five safest states for online dating:
|Ranking||Most dangerous states for online dating||Safest states for online dating|
Regardless of where you live, BackgroundChecks.org offers some safety tips if you’re searching for love online:
- Do a Google search of the person you’re speaking with on a dating app.
- Rather than give out your personal cellphone number, get a free number from Google Voice. Calls and texts still come through your cellphone, but the number is different.
- After connecting with someone online, check their social media accounts.
- Run a background check. BackgroundChecks.org offers a free online directory of public records to search.
- Meet in a public place for your first date.
- If you meet someone at a bar, stay on the safe side and don’t drink a pre-ordered drink.
- If you go on a date, let a friend know where you are or create a code word with a friend as an escape plan.
- If you’re still getting to know someone, drive separately.
- If something just doesn’t feel right, trust your gut.