“Stalking” or “creeping” on your dating matches by researching them on the internet is the surest way to uncover more information than they’ve already chosen to share on their dating profile. And, believe it or not, there are constructive ways to go about doing it that will be beneficial to all parties involved. Here’s our helpful guide on how to “stalk” the person you’re about to go on a first date with the *right* way.
What You Should Look For
First off, the point of researching your potential date isn’t to find dirt on them. Rather, it’s to confirm that they really are who they say they are, or portray themselves to be, on the apps. By “stalking” them online, you’re trying to prove that they aren’t catfishing you by using someone else’s name and photos.
Here are 5 things to look for (aka verify) when you’re researching your date online prior to meeting them:
- That their real name checks out
- That the information they’ve already shared with you or on their profile is accurate
- That they’re single (or in an open relationship) and are ready to mingle
- That they have a clean criminal record, or haven’t committed any crimes that are worth running far away from
- That they’re not catfishing you by using someone else’s photos or identity
You don’t want to go overboard by spending hours and hours digging through the internet to locate what year they graduated high school, which preschool they went to, or how many pets they currently have. That information is going to be hard to find, and it’s not all that important to know anyway. You’re mainly looking for the criteria that validates they’re authentic, not going to potentially harm you when you meet, and ready for whatever type of relationship you’re seeking.
How Far Should You Go?
Now that we’ve addressed what you’ll want to find when researching your date, there are certain ways to go about doing it. Here are 3 of the most effective ways to find this type of information about your matches:
1. Use social media
Social media is one of the best (free!) tools for casually scoping out potential partners you met on the apps. Say Nick’s Bumble profile mentions that he's a project manager at a digital marketing company, and his Instagram handle in his bio is the first letter of his first name and his full last name. Put the puzzle pieces together by combining his first and last name, then enter them into Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and even LinkedIn to see who pops up. From there, once you find their profile(s), you’ll be able to view more photos, confirm their job title, and ensure their relationship status isn’t “married” or “in a relationship” with someone else. Just be careful not to like any of their photos or request to follow them before you officially exchange social media handles with each other. That’s a bit TOO creepy.
2. Google search their name
Google knows all. So why don’t you consult it when you want to learn more about the person you might be going on a date with? Given you already attempted Step #1, you probably know their full name. Punch it into Google to see what comes up. You might be surprised at how much information is available, but chances are you’ll find the usual: articles in which they’ve been mentioned, their personal website or digital portfolio, any company affiliations, links to their social media profiles, and the occasional mugshot from prior arrests (kidding… not kidding).
3. Run a background check
Does your date claim they don’t use social media? Odd. In today’s age of tech and social everything, that sounds a bit shady. Are they really who they say they are? Or are they engaged and looking for a side piece to chat with under the disguise of an attractive stranger’s identity?
For just a few bucks, you can find out if someone is legit or not with an online background check. There are services like Been Verified or Truth Finder that allow people to run a reverse search with nothing but someone’s name or phone number. It sounds more serious than it is, but it’s just a handy tool for times like this.
The type of information you’ll receive in a background check includes, but is not limited to, the following:
- phone number(s)
- job title
- past companies
- family members
- social media profiles
- arrest records
Does the name on the report match your match’s name? Or does a 67 year old man named James own the cell phone that 27 year old Megan gave you? Fingers crossed it’s the former.
I’ve definitely paid $5 for a check in the past when I’ve had doubts that the person I was talking to was really who they said they were. And you know what? They weren’t! So it's a good thing I checked. If you’ve moved off the apps and onto texting, punch their digits into a reverse phone number search and find out who they are.
So you’ve researched your date as much as you wanted to and you feel confident about what you found. Do they check out to be who they claim to be? Awesome! If you’re happy with the results of your “stalking” and you still have a good vibe about the person, go ahead and meet up for your first date. On the other hand, maybe you’re a bit weary or skeptical about them, or you don’t like what they share on Facebook. The good news: you don’t have to meet them in real life if you don’t feel comfortable. Listen to your gut, and act accordingly. You can always cancel a date or rescind an offer, especially if they’re in a relationship or they had 10 too many mugshots in the Google search results.
If you’ve already gone out with them and want to “double check” to make sure what they told you during your date is accurate, you can repeat this process with the new addition of some keywords, depending on what you want to research. Were they really crowned “Brooklyn’s Hottest Man Of The Year” in 2013? Did they really work at Google for 7 years before becoming a CIA agent? Do they actually live in Atlanta? A few minutes of “stalking” might be worth your time to find out the truth about them before you confirm that second date with a liar.
Remember to always use your “creeping” for GOOD – not for harm or actual stalking purposes. This is intended to serve as a method for doing your due diligence to protect yourself from meeting someone in real life who isn’t who they claimed to be online. It’s always better to be safe than sorry!
Now you're a "stalking" pro, it’s time to sign up to one of the best dating sites, find a match, research them (the right way) and start dating!