Did You Meet Someone on a Dating Site? Consider Dating Background Checks

date background check

Let’s face it — dating isn’t what it used to be. And while no one sets out to end up on an episode of Dateline, it happens. That’s why taking extra steps to protect yourself is so important. Whether preparing for the first date or the tenth, what do you know about this person? Do you trust everything that they have said to be true? Is your gut telling you that there are some red flags?

No matter your answer to the above questions, being in the know can put your mind at ease and help set your relationship up for success. Remember that walking away at the beginning is far easier than it is down the road. In this article, we’ll share online and in-person dating risks and discuss why running a background check is the only way to go.

Understanding Online Dating Risks

As we said, dating isn’t what it used to be. And how we meet people for those dates is different, too. Online dating started creeping in and growing in popularity back in the early 2000s, with sites like eHarmony, Tinder, and eventually Match.com becoming part of our regular vocabulary. This concept has been highly successful for many couples, especially when meeting people in person at a chance encounter isn’t all that easy.

Today, nearly three in 10 U.S. adults have used an online dating app. And about 70% of people who have used these apps indicate that it has led to a serious relationship — no matter how you look at it, those are some pretty impressive statistics.

But is online dating safe? As with any type of dating, there are risks to be aware of, and meeting someone online is no different. Here are the risks you need to be aware of, and the very reasons why running a background check for dating is a necessity.

  1. False Information: A potential date might not be honest about their background. They could lie about their age, job, or even relationship status.
  2. Criminal History: Without running a background check, you won’t know if the person you’re talking to has a criminal past. This can involve past convictions, which could be a big-time red flag.
  3. Catfishing: Some individuals create fake profiles to deceive others. They might use someone else’s photos or create an entirely fictional persona.
  4. Scams and Fraud: Online dating can sometimes attract scammers who seek to exploit vulnerable people. They might ask for money or personal information to commit fraud.
  5. Unverified Social Media Accounts: A person’s social media accounts might not accurately represent who they are. They could be hiding key aspects of their life or using fake profiles.
  6. Privacy Risks: Sharing personal information with a potential date online can expose you to privacy risks. This information can be misused or shared without your consent.
  7. Emotional Manipulation: Some people use online dating to emotionally manipulate others, playing on their feelings to control or exploit them.

Whether you’re using dating apps or meeting people the old-fashioned way, using a people search tool on prospective love interests before they get too far can help protect you.

What Is a Dating Background Check?

background check dating

So, just what is a dating background check? If you head to your favorite search engine and look up date background check, you’ll be sure to get a lot of hits. But the truth is that every background check service is a bit different. Some are better at finding what you need to know than others.

Basically, a dating background check is gathering key information about a potential date to ensure they are who they claim to be. This process consists of verifying their name, age, and employment history. It also involves checking for any criminal activity, such as past convictions or ongoing legal issues. Additionally, a comprehensive background check will look into the person’s social media accounts, searching for any red flags or discrepancies between their online presence and what they’ve told you.

Some services might even include searching public records to find information on previous marriages or financial problems. Ultimately, the goal is to give you a clearer picture of who you’re dealing with, helping you make informed decisions about your relationship.

And how do you do it? Read on; we’ll tell you how to run a background check on that person you met on a dating site or at a bar.

How to Run a Dating Background Check

A study in Utah, not all that long ago, found that 14% of the 1,968 reported rapes carried out by acquaintances occurred during a first-time date made through a dating app. That’s pretty alarming when you think about it — 14%. If this isn’t reason enough to do a criminal background check, what is?

Here’s how to do it.

  1. Use Online Dating Sites Carefully: Many of these dating sites do their own basic background checks, i.e. verify the person’s identity and check for any obvious red flags. While not exhaustive, it’s a good starting point.
  2. Conduct a Google Search: A simple Google search can reveal a lot about a person. Look up their name along with other details they’ve provided, such as their job or city. Check for any news articles, social media profiles, or other public information that can help verify their identity.
  3. Check Social Media Accounts: Review the person’s social media accounts for consistency with what they’ve told you. Look for any red flags — suspicious behavior, inconsistent information, or a lack of a social presence altogether. How a person behaves on social media sites can be very telling.
  4. Use People Search Services: Many specialized people search services are available online. These services can provide more detailed information, such as a criminal past, employment history, and other public records. Some of the popular ones include Nuwber, which offers detailed background checks.
  5. Look into Criminal Records: The above services search for criminal records as part of their process. This step is super important to ensure the person you’re dating doesn’t have a concerning legal history.
  6. Verify Public Records: Public records can provide information on past marriages, bankruptcies, and other significant life events. Make sure not to skip this step for a more comprehensive background check.

These are just a few examples of how you can get insights into a person’s criminal past — or at least find out if they’re worth that first date.

What to Look For in Background Check Results

dating background check

Based on the steps we shared above, you can probably ascertain what you should look for when reviewing the results of online dating background checks. To be clear, the most important information to know is about criminal records and sex offender status — if your potential date shows up on sex offender databases, this is a big red flag. However, you should also be on the lookout for arrests, warrants, misdemeanors, and pending charges that should all be potential deal breakers.

Employment history and education can also be significant factors to consider. Take a look at their LinkedIn profile (if they have one). Do they tend to stay in the same job for a decent period of time or do they job hop? Are there lots of gaps in their employment history? While much of this can be easily explained, it can also be another red flag, signaling job performance and commitment issues.

To summarize, here’s what you should be looking for in background check results:

  • Criminal Records and Sex Offender Registry: Check federal databases and sex offender registries for criminal history, including convictions, arrests, and warrants. While your prospective date may be able to explain these things away, these are some pretty big red flags to have you walk away before you get too invested.
  • Personal Details: Verify the personal details provided by the individual, such as their full name, age, and address. Inconsistencies here can be a red flag.
  • Employment History and Education: Review their employment history and education records. Look for job stability and consistency in their career path. Use LinkedIn to cross-check their professional background.
  • Phone Number Verification: Ensure the phone number they’ve given you matches their personal details. This can help confirm their identity and avoid potential scams.
  • County Records: Search county records for any additional information such as past marriages, bankruptcies, or other public records that might indicate financial or legal issues.

Legal and Ethical Considerations

It’s natural to wonder if running a background check on a prospective date is ethical or legal. And it is, despite what you might read online. The information you receive from a background check site typically only consists of information available via public record. So, understand that your U.S. search isn’t completely fail-safe.

Information may have been expunged from court records and other online databases, so these things won’t appear in the results of a basic background check. Sites like Nuwber, however, provide as much information as possible to help you make a decision about your personal safety. To be clear, Nuwber does not provide information that should be used for consumer credit, employment, insurance, tenant screening, or any other purposes that would require Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) compliance. 

FAQ

Is it legal to run background checks on someone I’m dating?

Yes, running background checks on someone you’re dating is legal as long as you use publicly available information and comply with privacy laws. Using reputable services and conducting a thorough online dating background check can help ensure you stay within legal guidelines.

How accurate are online dating background check services?

The accuracy of online dating background check services can vary. Reputable services often provide more reliable and up-to-date information. It’s essential to cross-check details using multiple methods, such as reverse image search and reverse phone lookup, to verify the accuracy.

Can I find out if someone has a criminal record through a background check?

Yes, background checks can reveal a criminal record, including convictions, arrests, and warrants. They often search court records and other databases to provide comprehensive results. Checking criminal records is a big step in ensuring your safety when you’re choosing to use dating apps.

Will the person know if I run a background check on them?

Nuwber background check is confidential, and the person being checked will not be notified. However, it’s always best to respect privacy and consider discussing your concerns openly with your partner if appropriate.

What should I do if I find concerning information in a background check?

If you find concerning information, such as a criminal record or inconsistencies in their dating profile, it’s wise to trust your instincts and take necessary precautions. Consider discussing your findings with the person or seeking advice from a trusted friend or professional. Using multiple methods can help verify the authenticity of their information on dating websites.