Whether it is online or offline, there is one thing we can all agree on about dating: it’s dangerous.
But because we live in the age of technology, swearing off of online dating isn’t exactly the best (or smartest) solution.
Let me introduce to you: Background checks—before we get into it, let me convince you that background checking is absolutely necessary!
– Why should you run a background check before meeting someone in person?
We never know what could be hiding on the other end of the screen: it could be a bot, a scammer, a waste of time, or a criminal.
- For safety’s sake, always run a background check on an online date as they could be a potentially dangerous person.
A research conducted by Pew Research Center shows that 63% of men under the age of 50 believe they’ve encountered a scammer.
Financial scams on dating sites are quite common—if we’re not careful enough, some real financial damage might occur.
Checking your date’s background online will prevent putting your safety in danger—it’s highly recommended you do not take things offline with someone you don’t know.
Always put your safety first! This is how you can run a background check on someone you’re dating:
1. Search for a partner online and effortlessly with dating background-check apps.
Doing a background check online is fairly easy.
Some services make it possible for users to learn about a person’s personal details and criminal history.
You can search your date’s name or photo on SocialCatfish to view their personal details and criminal record—if they have one.
- Unlimited Social Search (which includes names, emails, phone numbers, usernames, and addresses) costs $5.73 for 3 days; Unlimited Image Search (which includes reverse image searching) costs $6.87 for 3 days.
Pick a plan based on the type of information you know about your online date—The “Unlimited Image Search” plan works if you have a selfie of them.
Otherwise, pick the “Unlimited Social Search” option and then proceed to put their information on the corresponding boxes!
Click on Search and wait a bit for the results; once you access them, click on the information you’d like to know more about.
Instant Checkmate is a service that mainly focuses on helping users find criminal records, but it’s not limited to just that.
- Person Reports (in which personal info and criminal/court records are included) cost $35.12/mo; Phone Reports cost $5.99/mo and include a more general search (mainly personal details, such as names, social media, etc.)!
Write down your date’s first/last name or phone number and click on Search—Instant Checkmate scans multiple sources for your results.
After a short delay, browse the results and find your person (this is where you’ll learn more about them).
TruthFinder has a “Background Check” option which is exactly what you’re looking for—it shows you your online date’s:
- Full name;
- Contact details;
- Employment history;
- Social media;
- Criminal and traffic records, etc.
This information can be accessed by purchasing a 1-month Unlimited Reports plan ($28.05/mo) or a 2-month Unlimited Reports plan ($23.28/mo).
Click on the Background Check tab on top of your screen and put down your partner’s name, city, and state—click the search button and carry on investigating!
BeenVerified’s People Search option will give you the perfect overview of somebody’s life—basic information and criminal records are included.
- A 1-month membership costs $29.99/mo and a 2-month one costs $19.49/mo—you get 100 reports per month.
Both of these plans allow you to:
- Run background reports;
- Find contact information;
- Find criminal records;
- Search using their phone number, email, or address;
- Choose the option to get notified when somebody’s report changes.
You will need your date’s full name (if you’re certain you have their real name, pick the People Search tab on BeenVerified).
During your search, you will be required to choose what information you’re interested in.
Before you pay for third-party services, here’s what you need to know:
– Your online date might be keeping their real name or phone number a secret.
To run a background check on someone you’re dating, you will need basic information about them (e.g. name, email, phone number, or other).
If they haven’t been honest about themselves, you’d be wasting your money as no relevant results will show up.
– If there is no available info about them, then nothing will show up.
Sites that offer background checks rely on available, public information for their reports—if nothing is available, then your report will be inconsistent.
This usually happens with catfishes because they create a fake persona; don’t be hasty if nothing shows up, your date could still be a dangerous person;
– They could have no criminal record and still be a dangerous person.
Not trying to make you paranoid here, but a criminal can have nothing on their record (it might be either the site’s fault or the law system’s).
Also, plenty of first-time criminals find their victims on dating apps, so be cautious regardless of what you find (or don’t find, in this case).
– You need to pick a service that works for your date’s country!
Before using your credit card, make sure you’ve read the site’s Terms & Conditions and functionality.
2. Check sex offender registries.
One of the reasons we run background checks on an online date is the fact that they might be a possible threat.
This is why I recommend browsing online sex offender registries such as:
- Dru Sjodind National Sex Offender Public Website;
- Michigan Sex Offender Registry;
- New York State Sex Offender Registry;
- Family Watchdog.
Feel free to search through your country’s public, sex offender registries to avoid threats and warn others.
- Important Warning: See if your date is part of these sites and if they’re not, don’t sigh a breath of relief yet—they could still be a dangerous person who’s not registered yet.
3. Search for their first and last name on Search Engines like Google or Bing.
If you’re hoping to run a free background check on someone, if they’re a person who’s made the news, then Googling their name does the trick.
- Type their name on Search Engines (e.g. Google, Bing, Yahoo, Yandex, DuckDuckGo, DogPile) and you should learn the most important piece of information: if they’re a dangerous individual.
This way, you can even find out if they’re a catfish—if mismatched or no results come up for this specific person, they’re fake.
You can also find their social media account by triggering searches (to find their Facebook account, type Facebook.com First and Last name).
4. Learn their true identity by reverse image searching.
Assuming that your online match has sent you their *actual* picture, feel free to run it on reverse image search features.
You can do this with Google Lens (the camera on the search bar) or Bing Visual Search;
- If your date has appeared in the news or crime-related blogs, then these sources (as well as their social media profiles) will come up.
Reverse image searching will let you do a background check and assess if a person is safe to continue a relationship with!
5. Do not meet up with someone unless you’ve video-called them.
Video-calling with someone you’ve met online verifies their identity in case they’re a catfish—something that happens way too often…
If you two have done this before, then that’s great! If not, request you two have a video-cam session.
Most social media platforms allow users to video-call (like Facebook’s Messenger, Instagram, and Snapchat), or you can use apps like Zoom or Skype.
It doesn’t matter where—what matters is for you to verify that your date is telling you the truth about who they are!
6. Inspect their social media accounts for any suspicious signs.
Dangerous people with fake dating profiles sometimes aim to take things to social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram.
- Most of the time, those social profiles are also fake because the person themselves has crafted a fake persona to lure the victim.
Analyze your date’s social media—some red flags include:
- Them not having any photos of themselves or only low-quality ones;
- No friends (or very few friends);
- No posts;
- They haven’t filled out the necessary info (where they live, work, go to school, etc.).
If their social media account is basically a desert, then that’s all the information you need—they may be a hazard.
However, if their profile is life-like, I suggest you also check their friends’ accounts to see if everything’s A-OK (their photos and info).
- It will make you feel a tad more comfortable knowing that this person interacts with other people online—this suggests they’re real.
– When should you run a background check on someone you’re dating?
I’ve been talking about doing this only if you’re thinking of meeting this person, but in actuality, you should run a background check from the get-go.
- Run a background check on your match before making the decision to get close to them, just in case they’re a catfish.
Not only does this prevent you from accidentally giving out sensitive information (your name, where you live/work, etc.) but also from wasting your time.
You could be talking to a scammer who wants to empty your wallet or a criminal looking to do the unspeakable;
Or a prankster who has nothing better to do but play with people’s feelings online
All of this can be avoided only if you conduct a background check early on before deciding to take the next step with a person you met online!
– What is the best way to execute a background check?
To see if your match is a registered criminal, then checking online records (for example sex offender registries and local police records) is the most efficient.
However, if you feel comfortable paying for the background check, you can try out third-party services (e.g. SocialCatfish)—just note that this might not work if your date is deceiving you.
– Can I verify someone’s background for free?
Yes! You can verify a person’s identity online for free, and pretty sufficiently at that.
Googling their name will tell you more about the person, including if they’re real or not.
You can browse the registries on Dru Sjodin National Sex Offender Public Website for free too (just fill out the information).
No matter what, always stay alert and don’t rush into meeting someone.
The best safety precaution is being careful—no matter what happens, never rush into meeting someone.
Make sure they’re a real person who leads a real, normal life. Use whatever is available to assess this: online records, investigative services, or clues!
And even if nothing suspicious comes up, continue taking your sweet time in getting to know the person you’re dating.