It’s just a fact of life these days—there is a wealth of information, personal and private, about each and every one of us readily available online, and it only takes a second to look it up.
If you’re already quick to go looking for information about strangers you meet casually, it only makes sense that you’d be curious about the people you’re considering letting into your life. While back in our parents’ day, people usually dated people they met at work, church, or through friends, these days, more and more people are falling in love with people they meet online, and the majority of these connections— about 75 percent—are between 2 people who had no prior connection before they met online.
This is an exciting time to be dating, with more opportunities than ever to meet strangers who you may have never crossed paths with a generation before. With that excitement though, comes concern and also an impetus to do your due diligence and take steps to make sure that the people you let into your life don't pose a risk. And while Google is just about everybody’s go-to source of information, it doesn’t provide nearly as much information—as quickly—as you can get with an online background check company. We’ve put together a list of some of the top companies and how they work, so you can find the one you want watching your back.
Here They Are: The Best Background Checks for Dating
Why it’s good for dating:
- Searches the “deep web” for information
- Aggregates social media information
- Helpful blog with tips about online safety
We all take to the internet for answers, but what if we told you there was a whole other online world full of answers? TruthFinder’s main selling point is that it looks for information across the so-called “deep web,” scouring in the online depths where a simple Google search won’t find any daylight. This means that with TruthFinder you can potentially find more information before the first date than you could with other sites.
On Truthfinder you can get background searches, criminal records, and social network searches, as well as find out a wealth of other information, including if someone has any known aliases, bankruptcies, tax liens, and more.
Why it’s good for dating:
- Everything laid-out in a single, comprehensive report
- Deep web searches
- 24/7 online help
CheckPeople keeps things simple for users, offering comprehensive background checks that are provided in a single, easy-to-read report. The company makes use of “deep web” searches that can dig up significantly more than you could find on your own in a simple Google search.
With CheckPeople you have access to records compiled through the company’s access to billions of public records, ranging from court documents to marriage certificates, arrest records, and more. It can also dig up long-lost websites, blog posts, and social media accounts, and if you ever have any problems navigating the site, you can count on 24/7 online customer service to sort you out.
Why it’s good for dating:
- Two helpful blogs with information on relationships and also crime
- Easy to follow reports that you can customize
- 24/7 customer service
Sometimes you’d like to know a little more about somebody that you’re planning on getting a cup of coffee with, but you don’t want to take a deep dive down some personal rabbit hole to get there. With Instant Checkmate you get to carry out unlimited searches and pick from either a standard report or premium reports, depending on how much you want to know.
A standard report will tell you about address history, related persons, arrest records, social media accounts and more, while a premium report includes things as far-reaching as civil judgments, corporate affiliations, watercraft owned, tax liens, and if the person owns an aircraft, just to name a few.
In addition, the company offers a federal inmate locator service and can draw information from sex offender databases. You can also access the site’s “crimewire” blog for information about staying safe online and offline.
4. iD True
Why it’s good for dating:
- Unlimited background checks
- Helpful, resourceful blog posts
- Satisfaction guarantee
With iD True you can find a wide range of personal information about people including where they live and their address history, criminal records and arrest history, sex offender status, relatives and business associates, social media accounts, and more.
The company also hosts a variety of blog posts with helpful information about subjects ranging from “how to catch a cheater with a web search” to “neighborhood watch—keeping your neighborhood safe.”
And while it makes use of millions of public records for its searches, iD True provides results in a flash, so it's quite handy for running a quick check on someone you just met through a friend.
Tips for Staying Safe on a First Date
- Make sure to tell someone you trust
Before you head out to meet somebody new, make sure to tell someone—a friend, roommate, sibling, you get the idea—about your plans for that night and when you expect to be home. You can even arrange for that person to text or call you at a specific time, just to make sure all is ok.
- Don’t leave your drink unattended
If you’re sitting with someone you don’t know well—or just at a bar at all—never leave your drink unattended. If you have to go to the bathroom, take your drink, phone, and purse with you, just to be on the safe side. Also, and this isn’t quite the same thing, but it’s a good idea not to drink too much on your first date. You’re meeting someone for the first time and it’s best to have full control of your senses.
- Don’t meet at home or at your work
Sure, you’ve hit it off with this person, but until you know them a little better, it’d be better not to have them know where you live or where you work. Suggest a neutral location like a cafe or restaurant.
How to Stay Safe on Dating Sites
- Be a bit apprehensive
If someone on a dating site comes on too strong or sounds too good to be true, you’d be well-advised to proceed slowly. If the person asks for money or a favor, or anything that may seem to be a scam, trust your gut and walk away.
- Don’t reveal personal information
Dating sites make a big point of letting you build a profile that really reflects your personality, and we agree you should do so—to a certain extent. Don’t put anything that could give away where you live or your email, or too much about yourself or your family. You can save that for when you get to know the person a little bit.
- Look them up
If you have the person’s real name, you should take a few minutes at least to look them up online and see what you can find. You can see if their profile pic is real (try a Google images reverse images search), if they have any skeletons in the closet, if they are named in news reports about unsavory things, and if they’ve written anything troubling online that you’d rather avoid.
Find Love—but Also Stay Safe
Dating today is a far cry from what you may remember from your high school days. There is a world of apps and websites that can help you link up with countless strangers who in the past you probably never would have met. With great options though, also comes great responsibility.
The good news is that since we are so connected today, it’s easier than ever to find information online that you can use to your advantage. A simple Google search can only go so far though. If you’d really like to go deep, you should consider signing up for a background search company, which can provide you all types of insight to keep you safe while you look for love.