Safety in Online Dating: Running a Background Check on Your Date

background checks

Let’s face it. Online dating is here to stay. Visiting websites like Tinder and Bumble is practically the norm these days when it comes to looking for a potential mate. Though no one can deny the benefits and convenience of online dating, there’s plenty of risk involved with venturing out to meet somebody based solely on a picture and information they choose to post on their profile. That’s why it’s definitely in your best interest to do some due diligence and find out just exactly who this person is.

Validate Your Date’s Identity

Assuming you have exchanged a few messages with this person in advance of arranging a time and place to meet, you’ve at least gathered what their last name is and the general area where they live. The most logical and easiest thing to do first is Google their name. You never know what might come up. Then look for their social media profile.

Facebook is the giant here, and you should find plenty of scoops if their profile is public. In addition to standard bio info that’s usually listed on a profile, like place of employment or where they went to school, there’s plenty you can glean from photos alone. Photos give you a good idea of the type of company they keep, what they like to do as far as activities, and their interests.

Much can also be revealed by what they choose to “like.” Instagram is becoming more prevalent in social media where people post what they’re doing in their leisure time. Twitter is also a great place to find useful information since most users typically keep their accounts set to public viewing. You might get a glimpse into their political views, or thoughts on sexual harassment.

Criminal Background Checks

Running criminal background checks is a necessary step to avoid falling prey to a predator, or to find out if the person has ever been arrested for sexual assault or domestic abuse. They could be a registered sex offender, for all you know.  You’ll need to find out first by checking criminal records in the counties where the person has lived.

If this fails to turn up any results, you can try running state background checks. Some states provide most county records in their database, while some don’t. If you’re not having any luck or don’t have the time, some sites do it for you and scour databases all over the country. These services typically charge a monthly fee. The federal government has made it easy for you to find out if a person is a registered sex offender.  The National Sex Offender Public Website is run by the Department of Justice and lets every citizen find the latest information in all 50 states.