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Protecting Yourself in Online Dating

By Michael Klazema on 1/17/2011

Online dating is a huge industry, and thousands of singles are meeting new people every day and starting up relationships. There have, however, been numerous stories and concerns regarding the safety and security of these services, since it is so easy for people to misrepresent themselves online and create a situation that is either a disappointment or a danger to the other person.

Online background checks are often discussed in the online dating world, and some states have either required these services to provide a check or to make it clear on the site that they will not be performing any background checks and that prospective daters should exercise appropriate caution.

An ABC news article recently discussed a couple of the big dating sites and how they feel about online background checks. Match.com, a site that sees more than 20,000 visitors in a day, seemed to be hesitant about providing background checks. Certainly, it would be a large expense for them, but they said that they feared that it would create a false sense of security in their users. True.com, on the other hand, runs background checks to screen out convicted felons, including sex offenders.

In the end, the most important thing to remember is that your personal safety is up to you. The simple fact is that a background check can reveal a lot of important information that can help you date with more confidence. Is this person married? Do they move around a lot? Are there any criminal or civil records tied to this person? What about bankruptcies, liens and judgments? This are questions that should be answered before you get involved.

It is really easy for unethical people to hide behind a glamour-shot and an embellished profile. That doesn’t mean that you should simply give up on finding someone special through online means, but it does mean you should take every precaution to ensure that this person is who they say they are.


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  • December 11 The Department of Health and Human Services Office of the Inspector General criticized a migrant youth detention center on the border for not running the proper background checks. Federal law requires the facility to screen all employees with FBI fingerprint checks.
  • December 06 In a bid to combat money laundering and illicit funding sources for terrorists flowing through the country's real estate sector, Singapore's government now mandates background checks for buyers purchasing properties prior to development.
  • December 04 What is a reference check? How does it vary from a work history check? We explore these questions and others.
  • December 04 Chicago Public Schools has dismissed hundreds of employees, coaches, vendors, and volunteers based on background check findings. The district recently vowed to re-check the majority of its 68,000 employees after a Chicago Tribune investigation revealed holes in its background check policies.
  • November 29 Striving to create a safer environment more conducive to productive training and leadership development, the Army has recently moved to adopt a uniform policy of background checks for certain roles. 
  • November 27 For hiring managers to verify the information provided on a resume, verification is essential.  Such is the purpose of employment history background checks.
  • November 27 California’s biggest public school district is waiving the cost of volunteer background checks. The move is meant to encourage more family - and community members to get involved with the school district.
  • November 22 Contractors play an important role in the workforce, delivering services to both individuals and organizations. Vetting contractors for suitability continues to be a challenge, as two recent articles prove.
  • November 21 When it comes to background and pre-employment checks, it can be instructive to look at the characteristics of the ten most massive U.S. employers.
  • November 21

    Verification checks are a powerful way to assess how truthful a job candidate has been on his or her application or resume. These checks can verify work history, education verification, professional licenses, and favorable personal qualities.