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Internet Scams by State: Are You At Risk?

Last Updated on January 16, 2020 by hilary bird

The internet transcends lines on the map, connecting us to faraway friends and a world of information, fast—but when it comes to online crime, your home (or IP) address couldn’t be more relevant.

Internet scams aren’t one size fits all; the FBI lists seven major types of internet fraud, including phishing, data breaches, and denial of services. But whether you’ve experienced Nigerian letter fraud or you were scammed by an online auction company, your location probably played a bigger role than you’d expect.

With International Data Privacy Day (January 28) and Safer Internet Day (February 6) on the horizon, now is a great time to ask yourself—how safe am I? Our list of the most and least scam-prone states shows how at risk you are whenever (and wherever) you log on.

Interesting Findings

  • Alaska is the 48th least-populated state, but its sparse population doesn’t stop it from ranking the highest for number of victims per capita.
  • South and North Dakota rank just above Alaska in terms of population, but they came in first and second (respectively) with the least victims per capita.
  • High scam risk doesn’t correlate to high money losses. For instance, Nevada experiences more scams than any state besides Alaska, but Nevada victims lose the least amount of money in scams.
  • In all but two states, average victim losses per scam total over $1,000 per person. But in Nevada, the average loss per scam is just $6.53; in Colorado, it’s just $7.12.


StateAverage Money Loss per VictimVictims per 10,000 PeopleTotal Money Lost in State
Alabama$2,574.357.939.95 M
Alaska$1,205.3119.171.71 M
Arizona$9,251.469.1559.37 M
Arkansas$2,751.565.844.82 M
California$5,103.5710.62214.22 M
Colorado$7.1214.1139.94 M
Connecticut$4,682.667.4212.47 M
Delaware$3,131.387.892.38 M
Florida$5,054.1610.43110.62 M
Georgia$5,473.636.7238.35 M
Hawaii$1,751.6013.473.37 M
Idaho$6,456.776.917.66 M
Illinois$4,572.447.3342.89 M
Indiana$3,252.706.1013.23 M
Iowa$2,618.004.874.01 M
Kansas$2,855.556.075.05 M
Kentucky$2,635.166.157.22 M
Louisiana$3,222.747.0910.7 M
Maine$1,770.955.541.31 M
Maryland$4,425.6111.2230.05 M
Massachusetts$7,462.727.6138.96 M
Michigan$3,962.916.4225.36 M
Minnesota$5,284.936.4919.13 M
Mississippi$3,772.606.036.79 M
Missouri$4,651.466.8519.48 M
Montana$3,465.137.022.55 M
Nebraska$3,760.335.944.29 M
Nevada$6.5315.5919.58 M
New Hampshire$3,368.668.243.73 M
New Jersey$5,281.678.5040.44 M
New Mexico$3,332.896.784.72 M
New York$5,029.728.8888.63 M
North Carolina$3,034.877.1222.2 M
North Dakota$5,653.024.702.01 M
Ohio$3,760.227.0030.67 M
Oklahoma$4,154.937.1511.67 M
Oregon$3,231.658.3411.17 M
Pennsylvania$3,200.518.8636.32 M
Rhode Island$4,815.456.643.39 M
South Carolina$3,538.967.3413.05 M
South Dakota$6,118.974.652.47 M
Tennessee$2,837.687.1213.56 M
Texas$5,293.847.72115.68 M
Utah$4,558.807.2910.3 M
Vermont$2,864.617.231.29 M
Virginia$3,755.6711.1435.44 M
Washington$5,728.3410.1342.99 M
West Virginia$2,244.805.982.44 M
Wisconsin$3,009.969.0515.79 M
Wyoming$5,372.567.492.33 M


Top Ten Most Expensive and Common Internet Scams

Protect yourself from internet scams by being aware of the different types of online crime. Non-payment or non-delivery is by far the most common, so be careful with your online shopping! Meanwhile, romance fraud (including catfishing) is one of the most expensive scams in America and cost people $211 million in 2017. From personal data breaches to extortion, here are the most common and the most expensive internet scams in the nation:

Crime TypeVictimsVictim Loss
Personal Data Breach30,904$77,134,865
No Lead Value20,241$0
Identity Theft17,636$66,815,298
Advanced Fee16,368$57,861,324
Harassment/Threats of Violence16,194$12,569,185
Confidence Fraud/Romance15,372$211,382,989
Credit Card Fraud15,220$57,207,248
Tech Support10,949$14,810,080
Real Estate/Rental9,645$56,231,333
Government Impersonation9,149$12,467,380
Corporate Data Breach3,785$60,942,306
IPR/Copyright and Counterfeit2,644$5,536,912
Crimes Against Children1,300$46,411
Denial of Service/TDoS1,201$1,466,195
Civil Matter1,057$5,766,550
Health Care Related406$925,849


We looked at both victim rate (the number of victims divided by a state’s population) and loss rate (the money lost divided by the number of victims) of internet scams. Our team gathered this data from the 2017 Annual Report by the Internet Crime Complaint Center, a subset of the FBI, and the 2017 American Community Survey (ACS), a survey overseen by the US Census Bureau.

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