Which Online Dating Lies Will You Accept?

 

shhh

Which lies are OK?

Last week we focused on harmful lies and deceit associated with online dating scams and the financial distress they can cause the vulnerable. But what about the softer side of deception, when potential dates fudge some vitals or use an outdated photo? Which lies are acceptable and which go too far?

People lie in online dating in myriad ways.  Online dating profiles are, in many ways, mini-advertisements, and people try to sell you the very best versions of themselves in a short profile.  In addition, because many online dating sites have cut-off points that categorize people, some people might fudge their numbers to get into categories where they think they might be more compatible with group members.

For example, someone might alter their income because they are entry level in their field and expect to make more in a short period of time.  A guy might say that he is taller than he actually is because he knows that women may state a preference for taller men, and that few women would refuse to date a man she met in person because he was an inch or two shorter.  These lies are what many people would consider harmless puffery, but for some people could be deal breakers.

Now for the big one: pictures.  It seems natural to select your most attractive photo for your online dating profile.  However, it is important to ask yourself if you still look like the person in the photo.  If the photo is a few years old or if you have undergone a dramatic physical change in the interim, then using that photo is probably dishonest.  Why try to date someone who would only find a historical version of you attractive?  On the other hand, that someone’s photo is a few years old is probably not a reason to consider that person dishonest about appearance.

Another point to consider: sometimes people lie accidentally.  A new female applicant might not be able to figure out what half of the body type categories on eHarmony even mean. Some of the men viewing that profile could have honest disagreements about if the person meets those requirements. And what about those situations where friends help one another with wording and descriptions on their profiles to bring out their best characteristics? Is this honest, friendly input or a form of cheating?

There are, however, some lies that cannot be considered harmless.  A married person claiming to be single, a mother or father claiming to be childless, or a person using fake pictures or fake names in their profiles are all red flags for bad behavior.  Running a background check through a service like BeenVerified probably will not tell you if your online love is really 5’11” instead of 6” tall, but it can reveal important information like marital status, criminal history, and whether or not the person has any children.

In online dating, we all conceal things about ourselves. That does not mean that all lies are harmless or that all lies are the same. Which online dating lies have you accepted after a date? Let us know in the comments.

Four Ways to Protect Mom and Dad From Scammers

 

We have looked at at the explosive growth of online dating scams this week, but there is another group of people that con men have a long history of preying upon, as this recent story noting the rise of “The Grandparents Scam” illustrates.

Look after him with these tips. Photo credit: Dietmar Temps under Creative Commons license. https://www.flickr.com/photos/deepblue66/

Look after him with these tips. Photo credit: Dietmar Temps under Creative Commons license. https://www.flickr.com/photos/deepblue66/

The reality is that a certain group of con artists focus their efforts on the elderly.  The elderly can make excellent marks for many reasons.  First, many elderly people have significant financial resources and do not have the same obligations that younger people may have, such as a mortgage, car payment, college savings, or saving for retirement.  This gives many of the elderly access to cash.

Second, the elderly can often be lonely and desire attention and affection.  As spouses and friends begin to die, the daily contacts that elderly people have established over a lifetime begin to slip away.  Children, grandchildren, and other relatives may try to fill those voids but be unable to do so because of other commitments in their own work, and families of their own.  This can leave the elderly looking for companionship.

Third, while impaired judgment is not an inevitable part of aging, it is a common occurrence as people age.  The combination of loneliness, confusion, and access to cash makes elderly people perfect targets for predators.

What can you do to help make sure that con artists are not preying upon your elderly relatives?

1. Make time for your relatives.

Even if you cannot be there, physically, make sure and maintain your relationship with regular phone calls.  Ask about what is happening in their lives and take an interest in any new connections that they make.

2. Encourage your relatives to do what they can to establish and maintain current connections.

If that is no longer possible in their physical location, a move closer to family or to a senior community where they will have ready access to social groups might merit further investigation.

3. Be honest in your assessment of an elderly relative’s judgment capabilities.

No one wants to deprive an elderly relative of the freedom of being in charge of their own finances or other decisions, but it is far worse to ignore developing problems for too long and find out that dementia has led to an elderly relative making disastrous personal choices that leave them dependent upon others for financial care.

4. Be proactive.

If you have any suspicions about a new person in your elderly relative’s life, you can run a background check through a service like BeenVerified. While not all con artists will have a red flag in their background check such as a criminal record for fraud, a background check does more than let you know about a criminal record. It can also tell you if the person has been honest with the information he or she has shared with your relatives.

Any significant lies are red flags that may merit further investigation or intervention by you.

 

10 Reasons You Might Enjoy Working at BeenVerified

 

BeenVerified is hiring. Check out our open positions here.

Here are ten reasons to consider joining our team:

A look at our office.

A look at our office.

  1. We are working with and improving upon some of the most complex data assets in the world.
  2. We have a relaxed, laid-back atmosphere where everyone is part of the family.
  3. Our kitchen is full of fresh fruits and vegetables that we use to make homemade juices (last week it was Berries & Carrot).
  4. Our NYC office is super-convenient to just about every major subway line.
  5. We have weekly meditation sessions.
  6. You can work from home when you don’t want to go out in the rain.
  7. You’ll be in an environment designed for optimum developer happiness and can build your own set-up
  8. We have a casual dress code.
  9. We have great health benefits for full-time employees.
  10. You’ll be part of a team that is disrupting the stodgy old world of public records and making it easy for consumers to find the important information they need.

We had to cut out the eleventh reason because it’s so cool, we don’t want competitors to steal the idea. Send us a message if you want to know what it is.

Check out our jobs page for more information on what it’s like to work at BeenVerified or read our interview with Product Manager, Tony Aly, for more insights on life at BeenVerified.

You See Love, They See Gold: Yet Another Online Dating Scam

 

gold bars

Think carefully before sending money to someone new in your life, no matter how convincing the story sounds. Photo Credit: John Louis, used under Creative Commons license. https://www.flickr.com/photos/investingingold/

Yesterday we looked at the growing phenomenon of online dating scams that are cheating unsuspecting and vulnerable people out of millions of dollars across the globe. While we noted that online dating’s move to the mainstream is likely the main cause in the growing number of scams out there, another long-term trend is also partly responsible: Globalization.

Anyone reading the news today can become discouraged with the number of crises and conflicts in the world. Today’s news of conflicts, while terrible in their own right, can also provide scammers with fodder for their next ploy.

The BBC reported on the latest example of such a scam yesterday.  A woman from England was duped by a man she met through an online dating service into what she thought was assisting his “Syrian sheikh” buddy import valuables legally into the country. The elaborate scam involved the woman paying thousands in fake tax bills and custom fees. After the woman realized she had been scammed, it was too late. While the police were able to trace the money back to a location elsewhere in England, the culprit and money were long since gone.

As the victim in the story remarked, vulnerable people are especially susceptible to this type of scam, particularly when dealing with skillful con artists who can rip news from the headlines to help support and validate their schemes.

While this particular story may seem far-fetched, we would argue that this type of scam could potentially befall anyone, not just the especially vulnerable or naïve. When you make a connection with a potential mate, online and off, judgment can become clouded, particularly in matters of money. That’s why we encourage verifying the legitimacy of a potential date early on, before you feel emotional attachment.

BeenVerified makes it easy to take the first step in building trust online with a potential partner with our extensive, affordable and accessible background check service.

What is the sketchiest thing a date or partner has asked you to do for them early on in the dating process? Let us know in the comments, but keep it PG-13, please!

Your Next Date: A Con Artist?

 

love:money

Make sure your online date wants you–and not your money. Photo credit: Just Deon, under Creative Commons license. https://www.flickr.com/photos/reign4aday/

As online dating has gone from niche to mainstream, scams targeting online daters are exploding, with more and more people using the Internet to prey upon the unsuspecting to make them fall in love and then steal their money.

British newspaper The Guardian recently called dating scams “the most costly in existence” and reported that in Australia there have already been 43 people this year who have lost more than $100,000 each in related scams.

Con artists spend time and effort to perfect their scams, which can make it difficult for the average person to determine whether a new online romantic interest is the real thing or simply a scam.

Here are some simple steps that you can take to protect yourself from a fraud.

Step 1: Scrutinize their profile. 

Keeping in mind that many people manage their profiles in such a way as to only present the best about themselves to potential dates, look at what you can see about them and honestly assess whether it looks too good to be true.  Conversely, profiles with minimal or vague information should also serve as a red flag. Is the text the work of a unique and down-to-earth individual, or are the phrases cookie cutter? Does the person seem to be in a rush to find a partner?

Step 2: Check out their pictures. 

First, are there pictures? In this day and age, it is safe to assume that someone who isn’t willing to share pictures and is trying to do online dating is likely hiding something.  Second, are the pictures all of the same person?  One thing that con artists do is make profiles from pictures that they have found that seem similar, but upon closer inspection, are actually of different people! Third, where else can you find the pictures?  Google has a feature that allows you to search for other locations of pictures online. Is that person’s picture an image used in multiple, seemingly unrelated websites? Or can you trace the picture back to a legitimate social media profile?

Step 3: Consider a background check. 

Is there a person matching that description?  Using a company like BeenVerified for a background check, you can find out if there is a person with that name and that age living where the person claims to live.  While it is possible for an adult to have no public record footprint, it is rare, and the lack of a verifiable identity is a huge warning sign that you may be on the verge of being scammed, or at least have caught a catfish.

The most important point of all: never send money to someone you haven’t yet met in person. Most online dating scams rely on building an emotional connection with the victim and getting money sent through services like PayPal or through other means online

Have you had any experience with online dating sketchiness? How did it turn out? Let us know in the comments.

Three Reasons to Keep a Background Check App Handy This Weekend

 

One of the best things about the weekend is escaping the office and not being chained to your desktop computer. We enjoy getting out and about too, but also appreciate the ability to access important information on the fly.

Take BeenVerified with you this weekend.

Take BeenVerified with you this weekend.

This need is a large part of why at BeenVerified, we spend a lot of time on making our products flow effortlessly in a mobile environment, whether you have an iPhone, iPad, Android or other mobile device. As TopTenReviews.com recently noted, we make it easy and cost-effective for you to search a person’s public record, a phone number or a property from the convenience of your smartphone.

But will you really need to run a background check this weekend while you’re soaking up the last rays of summer at a backyard barbecue?

We can’t say for sure, but here are three possible scenarios to consider:

  1. A fun night out

Going out with a group of friends to a bar can be a great way to meet potential dates. If you hit it off with someone, or conversely, if someone gives you the “creepy” vibe, having the convenience to look up their public record, review their social media presence and confirm their lack of a criminal record may give you the peace of mind needed to give them your number to set up a date.

  1. Your kid asks to sleep over at a new friend’s house

Your son or daughter may have recently met a new friend whom you have had little interaction with, and absolutely none with their parents. If you are uncomfortable with allowing your child in a new person’s home and don’t have the opportunity to meet with the parents, peace of mind can be a background check away.

  1. Last minute beach trip 

    Make sure it's real before you pay the money. Photo by Jason Jones: https://www.flickr.com/photos/jjay69/

    Make sure it’s real before you pay the money. Photo by Jason Jones: https://www.flickr.com/photos/jjay69/

BeenVerified offers a property search feature that is perfect for verifying homeowner information and avoiding the many scams that proliferate on Craigslist and other sites that specialize in vacation rentals. You can also use it in conjunction with a people search when transacting on AirBnb.

These are just a few of the many reasons you could need to run a background check this weekend, or even multiple background checks.

This is why BeenVerified has worked hard to not only provide customers with mobile access but also affordable searches.

We never want you to have to ask yourself if it’s worth the money to run a background check.

Have you used a background check for any of the above reasons? Let us know in the comments.

 

Guest Post: Why BeenVerified Made TopTenReviews.com

TopTenReviews logo

Note: This post was contributed by TopTenReviews.com

In March 2014, TopTenReviews.com rated BeenVerified 8.98 out of 10 in its annual Background Check Services Review. TopTenReviews’s verdict was that BeenVerified “offers accurate background information quickly about relatives, potential dates, and other individuals.”

The quickness with which one can access information about an online
acquaintance, out-of-touch friend, or even one’s own background earned BeenVerified the TopTenReviews Bronze award for the Background Check Services category.

Extensive Searches

BeenVerified is an affordable background check service that aggregates public records information, including address history, phone number history, marriage records, divorce records, property records, and more. BeenVerified also provides criminal background history for both misdemeanors and felonies, including but not limited to sex offenses, arrest dates, fines, and more.

The TopTenReviews staff found BeenVerified to be one of the most accurate services for discovering and listing relatives of the person being searched. They were also impressed by how thorough BeenVerified was when providing address history. BeenVerified also employs court runners who, for an additional fee, will go to retrieve a copy of a specific court document in person if you are unable to pick it up yourself. This service is particularly useful when one is searching for clarification on a court case that was tried in another state.

Accurate Information

The TopTenReviews staff was also pleased with the accuracy and quality of the information provided by BeenVerified. In their test searches, they were able to locate the correct individual in the provided search results. These test searches for known persons were very accurate, listing the correct age, family members, known aliases, and more. All background check information is carefully presented in order make each source clear and understandable.

Ease of Use

BeenVerified offers a clean and easy-to-navigate website, as well as generous preview reports to help verify that the report is for the correct individual. These preview reports are important because BeenVerified offers a la carte background checks in addition to a monthly subscription. The preview provides enough information that consumers will not need to weigh whether the report will be worth the expense. The TopTenReviews staff was also impressed by the logical, easy-to-understand presentation of information, which saves time by eliminating the need to further sort the information provided in the report. These reports are not simply raw aggregate data dumps.

Excellent Customer Service

TopTenReviews lists BeenVerified as offering among the very best customer service of the background check services they reviewed. BeenVerified boasts a customer support staff based in New York City and Miami, Florida. The TopTenReviews staff found it quick and easy to get a customer service representative on the phone who was able to answer any question they had about the service, which was a rare occurrence among the other services they tested. BeenVerified offers an equally helpful live chat feature, FAQs, and other documentation to complement its stellar phone customer service.

Conclusion

BeenVerified offers extensive background checks culled from public records, presented in a logical, easy-to-understand report. The service combines these reports with an easy-to-navigate interface and industry-leading customer service. BeenVerified focuses on fair business practices by providing generous preview reports before charging customers for the full collection of available information.

Read the entire TopTenReview.com article and ranking here.

Is Google Hiding Something from You?

 

We love Google.  Who doesn’t?  Its wonderful search algorithm has made searching for things on the internet fast, efficient, and easy.  This has made many of us think that we can find anything on Google.  For example, we might think that we can run an adequate background search simply by using identifying information to Google someone.  However, that would be mistaken.

Does Google have what you're searching for?

Does Google have what you’re searching for?

A Google Search is not the same as running a background search.  In fact, what makes Google a great comprehensive search engine can actually work against running a background check on Google. And increasingly, Google searches can be the subject of censorship.

To understand why running a Google search is not the same thing as running a background check, it is important to understand what Google can search.

Google does not search all publicly available information.  Instead, it searches information from websites that are accessible by the public without restriction.  Therefore, if the information could be accessed without a password or a fee, then it might be returned on a Google search.  However, if the information is only available for a fee, then it is generally not going to be on the type of page that Google can search.

Second, Google returns searches by relevance, but does not exclude irrelevant information.  Therefore, running a search for someone with their identifying information may return searches for people who share the same name, people who share the same birthday, or other identifying factors.  This can make it difficult to determine if the person identified in the search is really the one that you’re trying to find.

So, what makes a BeenVerified search different from a Google search?

First, BeenVerified is going to consolidate records about a single person into a unified report.  This helps eliminate the overlap that can occur when looking for a person that shares a name with others or even people who share both name and date of birth with others.  Although that scenario might initially seem unlikely, when you consider how many people share some of the most common names, it becomes clear that it is not only possible, but actually likely for that to occur.   By consolidating reports by person, BeenVerified can help eliminate this source of confusion.

Furthermore, BeenVerified has access to databases that otherwise require payment.  What this means is that, for the price of a single BeenVerified search, you get access to information that might otherwise cost multiple fees and require multiple specific searches.

This type of information may include civil court documents or government records, such as marriage licenses, divorce records, and child support agreements.  However, it can also include criminal record information that is not generally going to appear on a generic Google search.  What this means is that, while Google can be a great way to start an internet investigation of someone, BeenVerified provides the type of in-depth information many people are seeking when running a background search.

Why Couldn’t I Find Who I Wanted on BeenVerified?

 

BeenVerified offers a robust background check service, but sometimes a search will come up empty.  There are a few different reasons that this could occur.  Some of the reasons are due to innocuous explanations, such as the person not establishing a public record or the material not being digitized.  In other cases, the lack of a public record may serve as its own red flag that, perhaps, the person is not who he or she appears to be.

Is the person you are looking for using an alias?

Is the person you are looking for using an alias? Photo credit: rachel a.k. used under Creative Commons license. https://www.flickr.com/photos/kimonomania/

First, is the person you’re trying to find an adult?  Public records are generally going to be in the name of a homeowner, the person responsible for paying the bills, etc.  If a person is a minor or a young adult who is still financially dependent upon parents, then it is entirely possible that his or her information is not going to be part of the public record.

Even older adults may avoid having their information become public if they live with roommates, have utilities in other names, and use disposable phone services.  For younger people, the fact that they aren’t in the public record isn’t really a red flag; in many ways, it is to be expected.

However, for older people, a total lack of a public record can serve as its own red flag, especially if your introduction to that person came later in life.  While not impossible, it is somewhat rare for someone to entirely avoid having some information in the public record.

The next question to ask is whether the person is who they claim to be.  One reason that BeenVerified may be unable to locate the person that you’re seeking is that the person does not exist.  The person may be using an alias.

In other instances, the explanation may be far less nefarious.  The person may be shaving a few years off of a birthdate in order to appear younger or using a nickname.  If so, then a search using the known information may not return any results.  Expanding search parameters may help you find the information that you’re seeking.  Using BeenVerified’s People Search function with expanded possibilities for first name or date of birth might even help you narrow down the missing person.

Sometimes, you know the person’s identity is accurate, and you even know that there is some public information available about them, but it did not show up in a Background Check.  The easiest explanation for these omissions is that a BeenVerified Background Check is going to focus on material that has been digitized.  If it has not been digitized, then it’s not going to show up on a standard background check.

However, if you need access to documents that have not been digitized, BeenVerified offers a service that most on-line background check companies do not; real, live court-runners.  These court-runners can held down to courthouses or country clerk offices to search for records in person, giving you access to documents that have not yet been digitized, without requiring you to go to a courthouse in person.

Remember, if you ever have trouble finding what you’re looking for we are here to help.

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Don’t Fall in Love Until You Do This

 

Some people may say that running a background check on a potential date is the least romantic thing a person could do.  We absolutely disagree.  In fact, we can easily think of ten things that are less romantic than running a background check on a potential date:

  1. Going on a date with a married person who claims to be single.
  2. Falling in love with an imaginary person.
  3. A date with a history of sexual violence.
  4. A date with a history of domestic violence.
  5. Dating a deadbeat dad or deadbeat mom.
  6. Catfish.
  7. Finding out your spouse is on-line and trying to date other people.
  8. Dating someone who is only interested in your money or other resources.
  9. Going on a date only to be robbed or victimized.
  10. Finding out that single no kids, may be single, but has children out there.
Run a background check before going this far. Photo credit: Michael Coghlan, under Creative Commons license. https://www.flickr.com/photos/mikecogh/

Run a background check before going this far. Photo credit: Michael Coghlan, under Creative Commons license. https://www.flickr.com/photos/mikecogh/

Now, we realize that as long as people have been dating, people have been misrepresenting themselves to seem more attractive to others.  However, internet dating has offered up incredible opportunities for fraud because, unlike traditional dating scenarios, when people meet on the internet they rarely have a common group of friends or acquaintances that could help identify potential predators.  Instead, in on-line dating, many times people feel like they are left with only their judgment to determine whether someone is genuine or a fraud.

Fortunately, this is not true.  Using a service like BeenVerified, you can run a background check to find out information about a potential date.  Background checks can help avoid the top ten list of dating horrors found above.

BeenVerified’s background checks include information about marriages and divorces, and can help you identify whether someone is actually single.  Our search can also help you determine whether someone actually exists; while some people may have a minimal public record presence, few real people will have no public record.  BeenVerified’s Criminal Background checks can help reveal not just convictions for sexual assaults or domestic violence, but, in some circumstances, also arrests or charges for those crimes that did not lead to convictions.

BeenVerified’s search of public records can help you find out if a person has children, and, even if they are current in their obligations towards those children.  A background check that reveals a history of frauds or property offenses may be a red flag that a potential date is interested in your money, not in you as a person.

Finally, BeenVerified can help keep you from being “catfished.”  While catfishing schemes can vary, many of them involve appropriating others’ identities to create dating profiles.  If a background check reveals details that do not otherwise match what the potential partner has shared with you, it should serve as a red flag, not just for dishonesty, but also for a potential catfishing scheme.

Have you found dishonesty among your past online dates? Has BeenVerified helped you make a decision about a potential date, either positive or negative? Let us know in the comments section.