More and more people seem to be turning to id verification services to screen online dates, and even some dating sites are using it too. eHarmony has been using its service provided by ReliID since 2008, which allows its members to validate their full name, age and address, and uses publicly available information for id verification. Once members are verified they get a RelyID badge displayed with their profile showing other users that they have completed the process successfully, and they are officially not creepy.
But why, pray tell, go through all the hassle?
Apparently because so many people’s pants are on fire, that’s why. Too many liars, too many cheaters, too many scammers, too many murderers out there. People are wary. Verification services can help you find out if someone you might meet either online or offline is being honest and real with you or if they are just running some sort of scam, and potentially save you a lot of heartache, hassle and dough.
It seems a little paranoid to have to resort to conducting, or submitting to, a background check every time you meet the man, woman or dom of your dreams, but unfortunately online dating scams using fake personal ads are all over the place and you do have to be a little careful sometimes.
It’s true for the more “structured” paid dating sites too. A friend told me a story recently about a friend of hers who was asked by the (seemingly normal) man she was seeing on their third date, to produce a copy of her credit report. Why on earth would someone ask for that, if it wasn’t a scam?
On the other hand, if it wasn’t a scam, and that was his way of protecting himself in his mind, that’s getting way out of line. It’s a clear invasion of privacy and you run the risk of identity theft. Checking to see if someone’s actually married and cheating and/or if that photograph of their schlong is real is one thing, but this is going way over the line.
So where is the line exactly, between playing it safe and being neurotic, and how do you know if you’ve crossed it? Perhaps, like with most things, it comes down to using personal judgement and some common sense. Maybe you don’t have to dig up dirt on everyone you meet, unless they give you a solid reason to do so.
And if they do, there are a lot of places you can go online that provide these kind of services, which vary in type, scope and cost, but typically look for marriages, criminal activity, bankruptcies, former addresses, etc. Datechecker.com is one such resource that’s dating focused and seems geared towards the individual, that apparently “specializes in providing the public an affordable way to verify who a potential date really is…confirming information you assume a potential date is telling you.” The nice thing about them is that they say they do not provide current address information on subjects and confidential personal information which might harm an individual.
So maybe that’s the line. Apparently there’s a few apps for that too for the iPhone. Currently there’s Background Checker from BackgroundAnswers.com (geared more towards criminal searches) that’s free, at least to a point. Previously there was DateCheck from BeenVerified.com that was specifically designed to let you run a background check on a new lover via name queries or their email addresses. And it even allowed you to check your contacts on your iPhone with just one click.
Another friend of mine told me she was on a date with someone who, during the date, whipped out his iPhone and ran a background check on her, right there and then. Apparently she passed, but it served up all of her previous addresses, as well as her current one, in seconds. Which is really scary when you come to think of it, especially if you’re a single woman living alone. What was to prevent that guy, or anyone with that information, to follow her home? Not a damn thing. Why not just call the thing iStalk? In my mind, that’s a major infringement on people’s privacy and too much information that shouldn’t be available to just anyone. (Thankfully that app has been removed from the iTunes Store.)
I didn’t ask if she went out with him again.