Online dating? Don’t forget the background checks


Online dating is so popular now. It seems we all know someone who met a significant other online.

But whether it’s through the Internet or some other means, the dating scene is full of people pretending to be someone they’re not.

The good news is, you can clear up some of the mystery with a background check.

Man or woman, when we’re curious about someone, most of us make a beeline to social media. And that’s a good start.

But whether you’re looking for love or hiring someone to take care of a child or aging parent, you must dig deeper.

“Just using a name will get you something, but usually not very much,” said Linda Montgomery.

She performs background checks for a living, running her own private investigation firm.

Montgomery and her team check social media all the time. Their advice? Use websites like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn to verify things a person you don’t know has told you about themselves.

“Their approximate age, towns they’ve lived in, any activities they’ve been involved in,” said Montgomery.

Where’d they go to school? What places have they worked? What about special interests? It’s all information you can easily obtain in the course of a conversation, in person or online.

“You need to first determine whether this person is being honest and truthful and open about themselves,” said Montgomery.

The most convenient way to get down to the nitty-gritty is an online background check service.

“There are nearly a dozen websites collecting all sorts of information you’d want to know,” said Montgomery. “Is the person married? Is there a past serious arrest or criminal history?”

The cost? From as little as $12 to as much as $50 for a single report.

“But buyer beware, I found some sites don’t even mention the cost upfront,” said Montgomery.

Instant Checkmate took a long time to process our report, and you can’t see it until you pay.

Intelius gets top reviews for the most complete, easy-to-read report. It costs $50.

Another good one, it’s called PeopleWise and it provides social media profiles for $25.

“Get to know as much as you can about them before you become too involved,” said Montgomery.

Consider it an important investment in yourself, because the person you’re checkout could ultimately affect every major part of your life.

In many states, you can also request background information from the state patrol.

Depending on the location, you can find criminal convictions, recent arrests and registries listing sex or kidnap offenses.

Keep in mind, if you use a background search service to hire someone, you must always get the other person’s permission in writing.


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