In a recent poll, almost 1 in 5 US adults indicated they have used online dating sites or dating apps and over 60% believe it’s a good way to meet people. But one lingering concern about online dating relates to safety and there’s an increasing demand for background checks when online dating.
The issue is that with online dating, you often lose some of the context you would have had for meeting someone (through a mutual friend, through work, etc.). Consequently, some of the safety nets you would have in place to learn more about a person before getting into a relationship no longer exist.
That’s where background checks come in. It used to be that you would need a lot of information – social security number or driver’s license number, date of birth, etc. – to even get started with a background check. Fortunately, people finder sites are now able to track down all manner of information with just a name, city and state, and an approximate age. From there, you can browse preview results to ensure you’ve got the right person before plunging into the full background report. The background reports include all manner of public records, including:
- Criminal records
- Phone numbers & Past addresses
- Property records and reports
- Civil court records
- Voter registration information
- Marriage and divorce records & more
Even if you think you know someone pretty well, chances are you’ll learn something from an online background check. If someone recently moved from out of state, how can you really know what kind of past they left behind? Or how can you know if they’ve truly left it behind – marriage records might reveal they’re still attached. Phone numbers that are associated with them might help you figure out where else (and who else) they might be spending their time with.
It’s not about a lack of trust – it’s about protecting yourself from emotion or even physical harm. A good partner would most likely be willing to talk through anything out of the ordinary that a background check reveals. And if you don’t find out anything of concern, all the better; $12 is a small price to pay for peace of mind.
And if you literally can’t find a person with a background check? Well, for people who have just turned 18 or just moved to the US, there’s probably no cause for concern. For women, using a married name (that’s been kept) instead of a maiden name can sometimes cause issues. For everyone else, that could open up a whole different conversation.
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