Category Archives: Online Dating

Will A Criminal Record Lock Up Your Dating Life?

 

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A criminal record doesn’t have to mean doom for your love life. Photo credit: Jason Clapp

All of us have skeletons in the closet, but some skeletons may appear to be scarier than others, especially in a dating context.

With people from all walks of life now able to run background checks affordably and instantly, you may feel like your past is obscuring your present and future prospects.  After all, if you have a criminal record, you are already aware of how it can interfere with employment opportunities, educational opportunities, and even basic necessities such as housing.

However, until relatively recently, beyond official purposes, criminal records were sufficiently private that a person with an incident in his or her past would have the chance to get to know someone before having to mention a criminal history.  Now however, it is entirely possible and even likely that someone could learn about your criminal history before you even get an opportunity to make a first impression.

So, how do you approach dating if you have a criminal incident on your record?

First, don’t lie.  While you may not have to share your entire criminal history with someone by the end of the first date, many potential partners will be more upset if you conceal the truth than they would have been about learning about the underlying criminal offense. Furthermore, if a criminal record is a deal-breaker for a potential partner, you not only waste their time, but yours, too, if you lie about it.

Second, take accountability for past mistakes. For many potential partners, it will not be enough for you to be honest about the details of your conviction, but also about the underlying details for the crime.  While you have every right to say you would like to wait to discuss them, the reality is that if a relationship progresses, you will need to discuss it at some point in time.  When you do describe the event, you will seem like you are trying to dodge responsibility if you blame others for what you did.

Third, ask yourself if you have you taken the steps needed to improve or change yourself since the criminal incident(s).  If the conviction involved drugs or alcohol, have you completed a rehabilitation program and are you currently sober?  If you were convicted with a group of people, have you changed associates?  If the conviction was for a violent crime, have you sought help to deal with any anger management issues or other problems with violence that you may have?

It is important to articulate the steps you have taken to put yourself in a different place than you were at when the criminal record was created. Many potential partners are not nearly as concerned about what is in your past as they are about what you are likely to be like in your future.

Therefore, any steps you have taken to help improve your chances of avoiding the same mistakes you have made in the past can be critical in keeping a new love interest onboard.

Are you unsure of what will show up on your background check? You can search instantly with BeenVerified to find out.

 

Tinder: When in Doubt, Swipe Left (Or Hit Block)

 

Tinder has changed the face of online dating. The process used to consist of hours crafting a detailed profile complete with one’s favorite foods and movies to tap into a network of complex algorithms in order to test for compatibility in connecting with a potential date. This was often followed by days or weeks of correspondence to determine if the date appeared worthwhile to meet for a preliminary coffee date.

Everyone is on Tinder these days.

Everyone is on Tinder these days. Photo credit: Tinder Hell.

Tinder, and similar sites such as Grindr, with their direct interfaces, emphasis over pictures rather than written profiles, seem to encourage users to do away with the complex “getting to know you” rituals of more traditional online dating. GPS compatibility adds to the urge of “meeting up now” rather than conducting due diligence over time on a potential match.

The fact that everyone seems to be using Tinder adds to the pressure to participate. While the majority of Tinder users seem to treat the app as more of a game or diversion as opposed to a dating or hook up site, the fact that “everyone” is on Tinder means that unsavory predators are on it, too. And without you being careful, they can find out your location, your appearance and perhaps even work their way onto your Facebook account.

The fact that Tinder relies on Facebook’s infrastructure to ensure “real people” are being matched with one another gives the dating platform a veneer of safety that could lead to complacency. The fact is that Tinder’s directness makes it a particularly attractive venue for scam artists, which as we’ve blogged about recently, have proliferated throughout the online dating universe.

Be sure to avoid seeing friends from work by checking the appropriate settings. Photo credit: Tinder Hell.

Be sure to avoid seeing friends from work by checking the appropriate settings. Photo credit: Tinder Hell.

Here are a few aspects of Tinder that you should consider “Swiping Left” on:

1. Catfish – Fake Facebook accounts can and are easily created for the purpose of Tinder, as this story reports. When engaging with a match, ask a lot of question and be ready to hit the block button if the answers don’t add up.

2. Facebook Friends – Make sure in Tinder’s settings you instruct it to avoid showing you Facebook friends in real life. It’s also a good idea to tighten up all of your Facebook security settings while you’re at it.

3. Con artists – Sex workers, automated bots and con artists looking to exploit Tinder’s location services have all been known to use the service for unsavory and illegal purposes. Again, use the block button if someone seems too good to be true and especially if they are intrusive.

And here are some ideas to “Swipe Right” on to ensure Tinder remains fun, useful and safe:

1. Background check – Keeping a background check app like BeenVerified next to your phone’s Tinder icon can make it extremely convenient to rule out some of the seamy characters listed above.

2. Make your first date in public – Use the same common sense approach you would for traditional or typical online dating. Meet in public, converse online until you’re comfortable and don’t feel rushed to make a connection.

3. Use the block feature – We can’t emphasize this one enough. As so many Tinder users treat the service like a game, it’s a reality that you will run into people with no investment in the service and are simply looking to joke around or even harass people. Use that block button early and often!

We hope the above tips will help you navigate the world of Tinder and similar match sites with ease.

Do you use Tinder? Tell us about your experiences in the comments section.

Which Online Dating Lies Will You Accept?

 

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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.

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

 

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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?

 

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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.

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.

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Lead an Online Life? 3 Risks to Keep in Mind

Imagine a world where we don’t use the Internet 10+ times a day. Imagine not checking your e-mail every 15 minutes, or never having Facebook, or never having discovered eBay (yeah, neither can we). It’s pretty bleak, right? In all actuality, we’ve become so dependent on the interweb that the thought of ever living without it is mostly impossible. But, that’s OK, because we live in this crazy, online society which gives us so much anyway, and what’s so bad about that? Continue reading

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What How I Met Your Mother Can Teach Us About Online Dating

At BeenVerified, we know a ton of you are finding that special someone online. Whether you’re using specialized services like match.com or you’re using popular platforms like Facebook or Twitter, we’re pretty sure finding the guy or gal of your dreams has gotten a little easier thanks to the social Web. ​

We can even see this in popular culture. For example, in a recent episode of How I Met Your Mother, main character Ted goes on a date with a mystery woman named Janet without doing any preliminary online research. His friends Barney and Robin think he’s crazy, having done a lot of the heavy background checking for him in past, the kind of research that basically resembles an episode of CSI.

Continue reading

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What We Can Learn From New Online Dating Study

In a recent article in the New York Times, journalist Stephanie Rosenbloom sheds light on some fascinating data on the ever-growing world of online dating. The data demonstrates that at least 25% of all relationships these days start online. Of course this data can be dissected in a number of ways, the fact remains, as Facebook’s Andrew T. Fiore says in the NYT article, “As more and more of life happens online, it’s less and less the case that online is a vacuum. It is life.” Continue reading