With increased use of the internet, there is a higher risk of scams, identity theft, security breaches, and other types of cyber fraud. Online dating is no exception. This AARP survey looked at how often U.S. adults ages 18 and older were targeted or victimized in relationship scams.
The survey found that more than one in four (27%) U.S. adults surveyed say they or someone they know has been either the target or the victim of an online relationship scam. Specifically, 4 percent of U.S. adults surveyed say they have been victimized by an online relationship scam. Another 14 percent have been the target of one. And even more respondents indicate knowing someone — usually a friend or family member — who has been a target or victim of an online relationship scam.
This survey also found significant differences between U.S adults who say they have been targeted or victimized by an online relationship scam and those who say they have not. For instance, those who have been targeted or victimized more often experience feelings of social isolation and report a greater number of negative life events than those who have not been targeted or victimized.
This survey was conducted by the nonpartisan and objective research organization NORC at the University of Chicago on behalf of AARP. For the national survey of U.S. adults, data were collected using the AmeriSpeak Panel. AmeriSpeak, the probability-based panel of NORC, is designed to be representative of the U.S. household population. Interviews for this survey were conducted between January 9 and 24, 2019, with 1,721 adult internet users ages 18 and older, representing the 50 states and the District of Columbia. Respondents were randomly selected and drawn from the AmeriSpeak Panel. In addition to this national study, NORC also collected interviews of adult internet users in four states: Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Vermont, and Washington.