Online dating services have grown in popularity over the past several years. From general dating websites like eHarmony.com to more specific services like ChristianMingle.com, the dating scene has taken to the Internet as the second most effective way to meet the love of your life after meeting people through friends and family, according to a recent study by the University of Rochester With the prominence of these online dating websites, I have had clients ask if I recommend any particular service as a safe and legitimate way to meet people. Unfortunately, the answer is no.
With all the advertising these websites utilize and claims of “science-based” matching, the number of people using these services has increased dramatically. Yet these services do nothing to verify the information their users provide. Users have been known to fudge the numbers on their weight and age, and there is a high percentage of people outright lying in the attempt to take advantage of others just looking for love. The websites do nothing to prevent people utilizing the service for nefarious means.
It has become a popular practice to reach out to a private investigator to conduct background checks or just verify their “match’s” online connection information.
A few tips to avoid being scammed or hurt by an online dating service:
- Verify their Name and Address: If you are thinking about sending money or thinking about getting on an airplane and going across country to meet, the least you should do is verify their name and address. A private investigator can confirm your online beau’s identify with as little as a name, address, and telephone number, even a cellular number. All these things can be verified to keep you safe.
- Conduct a Background Check: My firm sees a lot of requests for background checks from both men and women looking to confirm the truth about their online dating partner. For a nominal fee, you can use a private investigative service to conduct a background check using their name, address, date of birth, and their social security number. Most of this information is provided by online dating services, but if your match is hesitant to provide their social security number, the first five digits will be sufficient. My firm sees a lion’s share of work in this area due to our in-house state-of-the-art computer system, 888-US-UNITE locating system, and the public’s comfort working with former supervisors and federal agents.
It’s not that there aren’t good people using these dating services, it’s because there are so many scoundrels out there preying on good people that you have to be careful.
Do you have questions about your online relationship? Before you get spiritually, romantically, and physically invested, please let me know and I would be pleased to address your concerns.