Dating and relationships have changed dramatically since the advent of dating sites. A lot of people meet their partners online. In fact, a third of all marriages in the US start online. Dating sites offer convenience that’s much appreciated in our hectic day and age. Still, they’re not without their downsides. Many people, women in particular, are wary of meeting strangers.
People search sites like CheckPeople use public information like lawsuits, liens, criminal records, bankruptcies, and civil records to let users find anyone easily and fast. Online dating’s popularity is now paralleled only by that of online dating background checks. According to a study by PEW, almost a third of all people search for information about someone they are about to meet or are currently dating.
Maybe you are one of those who don’t feel safe enough to meet someone they’ve talked to online in person. Here’s what you need to know if you want to run a dating background check.
Is He a Convicted Sex Offender?
This is the first and main concern women who are dating express. Sex offense convictions are public information by law, and each state is obligated to maintain a sex offender registry. People search sites also access the national sex offender registry. This registry incorporates all territorial, tribal, and state registries.
Checking for a Criminal Record
Of course, there are also general criminal records to consider – according to NPR, 20% of Americans have a criminal record. You can run a national, state, or county check to see if your prospective partner has one.
County Background Check
County checks are strongly recommended because county authorities prosecute the majority of crimes. These records include felonies committed in one specific county and are very detailed.
Admittedly, it’s not as easy as it sounds. You need reliable information about the county or counties they have lived in. Since someone has to go to the county courthouse to get a physical copy of the records, it might be a good idea to use a county check service, which will send a representative to obtain them on your behalf. You don’t need to go personally if you don’t want to.
State Background Check
A better option is a state background check if you don’t know much about the county or counties where the person has lived. State record contents differ depending on the state. Some states maintain databases of all county records. Others have just a few county records on file.
National Background Check
National checks search state databases in the vast majority of cases because the national criminal database is not publicly available. If your date has moved from state to state often, a national background check is the most reasonable option.
Not all states have online databases – the states of Massachusetts, Delaware, Wyoming, and South Dakota do not. If you need information for them, you have to run a county check for all the areas where the person has lived. A national check will only yield records from the other 46 states.
All background checks contain information about incarceration records, sex offenses, warrants, arrests, court records, and convictions of felonies and misdemeanors regardless of which type of check you opt for. The amount of information you have about your date will determine the type you choose.
What’s the Easiest Background Check?
It might be a good idea to start with their social media profiles. The internet can provide a wealth of data about your date, while the information from a standard background check is limited to criminal charges and convictions. Turn off your personalization settings and google your date’s city and name. You’ll probably get links to their social media.
In the best-case scenario, you’ll end up learning more about their hobbies and interests. If a related topic comes up during a date, be careful what you say so they don’t find out you did a search on them. Less ideally, you will unearth evidence of unsavory personality traits or attitudes.
There are three elements of a thorough background check:
- Search their online footprint, including social media profiles
- Check the national sex offender registry
- Run a county, state, or national criminal background check
All of this shouldn’t take more than half an hour. It is definitely a step in the right direction because nobody can blame you for feeling unsafe.