It's becoming a real problem.

Over the past month or so, the local headlines have been full of stories about South Dakotans getting taken advantage of by scammers:

It's gotten so bad that we set a new record for losses to scammers in 2020 with Americans giving up more than a billion to bogus activity online.

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So how much of that did South Dakota account for?

A new on the State of Internet Scams 2021 shows that residents of the Mount Rushmore State were actually scammed the least in 2020, according to data from the FBI, Internet Crime Complaint Center, and Federal Trade Commission.

In all, South Dakota had 777 victims of online fraud, losing a total of $3,208,241 ($4,129 per person), making it the only state with losses under $4 million.

Most of the top ten least scammed states all had one thing in common - a small population. Nine of the top ten have the least number of people, with the exception of North Dakota, which is the fourth-smallest state by population, but the 29th most scammed ($25,804,940) last year.


  1. South Dakota $3,208,241
  2. Vermont $4,175,799
  3. West Virginia $4,823,786
  4. New Hampshire $4,949,296
  5. Wyoming $5,096,704
  6. Montana $5,669,293
  7. Delaware $6,486,617
  8. Maine $7,073,260
  9. Alaska $7,342,743
  10. Rhode Island $7,669,670

The states that have seen the most money lost to scammers are, not surprisingly, the most populated places in the country, with each state in the top ten losing at least $100 million in 2020.


  1. California $621,452,320
  2. New York $415,812,917
  3. Texas $313,565,225
  4. Florida $295,032,829
  5. Ohio $170,171,951
  6. Illinois $150,496,678
  7. Missouri $115,913,584
  8. Pennsylvania $108,506,204
  9. Virginia $101,661,604
  10. Colorado $100,663,897

Currently, there are several online scams making the rounds:

  • Business Email Compromise: The victim receives an invoice or email asking to have a payment sent to a new bank account going forward. ($1.8 billion lost in 2020)
  • Romance Scams and Confidence Fraud: Scammers steal photos of good-looking people and target lonely singles online. Once the victim falls in love, they start asking for money or gift cards that cannot be traced. ($600 million lost)
  • Investment Scams: Cybercriminals offering once-in-a-lifetime investment opportunities via email and social media that promise high rates of return at little to no risk. ($336 million lost)
  • Online Shopping Scams: Fake websites offer to sell items at a huge discount but instead steal credit card and personal information. ($265 million lost)
  • Identity Theft: Scammers steal personal information to access bank accounts, credit cards, and even unemployment benefits. ($219 million lost)

If you are the victim of a scam or attempted scam report it to the FTC, IC3, FBI, or

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