Our friends are the only people as close to us as our family. But, do we really know them? Most sexual assaults are perpetrated by someone the victim knows, and the same applies to theft and domestic violence. Serious injury can result from a poor judgment in who we hang out with.
The age of the internet has also made it much easier to learn more about our friends. You can reconnect with old friends, find out what makes your new friends tick, uncover that secretive friend’s birthday and more with these tips and tricks.
First, a word of caution.
Don’t Be Creepy
The web is full of data and has a long memory.
There’s running a background check, and then there’s being invasive. When you start obsessively digging deeper into someone’s life, it may be worth asking yourself if you ought to just confront them over whatever it is you’ve uncovered.
There are no easy ways to approach this topic, but you can try suggesting a mutual background check to see what the internet says about you both. If you have children, you can inform new friends that it’s part of how you keep them safe around new people. Otherwise, you may just need to come out and tell them. Make sure you take these steps before you conduct the check. In general, it’s best to avoid secrecy. A background check is not illegal, but it can sour someone’s opinion of you if they perceive that you have been stalking them in some way online.
Tools to Use
Begin with your favorite search engine, and utilize Facebook, to search the person’s full name. Use quotation marks, like: “SEARCH TERM,” as an operator to specify the person’s name in that specific order. This helps cut down on false positives returned for similarly spelled names.
Facebook offers public data a person fills into a profile. That can clue you into other things to search for (like interests, screen names or other URLs associated with this person). Social media is where most people leave their publicly available posts, with blogs ranking a distant second. If they use a screen name (an anonymous handle), search for that handle on the wider web to see what other sites or profiles pop up too.
Correlating data is important, which is why a professional background check is your best option. Professional checks use authorized data and provide you whatever is available to check against the unknowns you uncover as you search.
Confronting the Worst
Everyone makes mistakes but finding out the worst forces you to make a decision. Those with children should err on the side of caution, but those without have a tougher choice. Consider talking to that person if you do uncover something questionable, and try to remain both empathetic and vigilant.
Let your morals be the guide.