Remember the days when you would be waiting by the phone for your crush to call you after giving him or her your number?  Well let me tell ya...times have seriously changed.

Nowadays, people are glued to their cell phones waiting for a text, a Snapchat, or even a Tinder notification in the hopes of finding "the one."  Whatever the case is, social media and technology certainly influence the dating world today.

In an effort to find that special connection to another person, singles turned to the world of online dating more so than ever during the COVID-19 pandemic.  Dating in a "normal" world is tough enough. Once you add a global pandemic to the mix, the odds of meeting a potential partner aren't great.

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Even before the pandemic became a real thing, online dating was already a popular trend.  Arguably, online is scarier than actually meeting someone in person.  Why?  You're literally putting your entire self on a dating app and are sharing with complete strangers everything about you.  You only hope to find someone with similar interests. Once you do, there's still way one more hurdle to jump.

You need to be sure that the person on the other side of the screen is real.  In other words, you don't want to be "Catfished." Well, good news for online daters in South Dakota! A new study shows that the state is ranked number three as a "least Catfished state."

SocialCatfish.com released the Most Catfished States in 2020 "using data from FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center and the FTC released in March and February of 2021." According to the website, "Americans lost a record $304 million in 2020, up from $201 million in 2019.  Romance scams are worsening despite government warnings, an MTV reality series, an NFL victim, and someone pretending to be Bruno Mars tricking a victim out of $100,000."

Here are the top findings from SocialCatfish.com:

  •  5 Most Targeted States: California (3,110 victims, $120M lost), Texas (1,602 victims, $42.1M), Florida (1,603 victims, $40.1M), Michigan (572 victims, $28.6M) and New York (1,103 victims, $26.2M).
  •  5 Least Targeted States: Wyoming (44 victims, $377,214 lost), Delaware (58 victims, $488,609), South Dakota (32 victims, $585,685), North Dakota (47 victims, $600,571) and Vermont (46, $671,040)
  • Record Use of Dating Apps: Dating app revenue exceeded $3 billion for the first time in 2020, creating an unprecedented opportunity for scammers to prey on isolated victims during the pandemic.

So if you are dating online more often in the "new normal" world, this is how you stay safe and protect yourself:

  1. Never Give Money or Personal Information
  2. Take Things Slow
  3. Meet or Video Chat (This is usually a HUGE red flag if someone does not want to meet up for coffee or even to say hi.)
  4.  Reverse Search
  5. Be Aware on All Platforms (Scammers also target other social media sites like Twitter and even LinkedIn.)

Happy dating, South Dakota!

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