Online dating appeals to people for many reasons. It’s easy to begin, and you can take your time. Instead of a chance first meeting, you have time to write your perfect dating profile.

Dating websites match people according to compatibility. You decide who you like and who you want to contact. You can develop a good rapport long before you meet in person. Make sure you present yourself realistically. You’ll have more success online if you connect with compatible people.

If you’re shy, online dating gives you time to think about your responses. It takes the pressure off social interactions. When you get to know each other before an in-person meeting, it leads to better dates.

Online dating is convenient, but it has potential risks. First, is the person on the other end of your online date who they say they are? Catfishing schemes and dishonest people are legitimate concerns.

Let’s dig into why a dating background check is essential before you meet someone in person. Keep reading for a step-by-step guide.

How to Do a Dating Background Check

Confirm facts about your love interest before you meet. You’ll feel confident about your safety. If you find any information you don’t like, you can decline the date.

The best way to research your date is to ask questions during your initial contact. This is especially important if the person has a common name. You want your search to be accurate.

Be aware of red flags like:

  • Rushing into the relationship
  • Not having a phone or webcam
  • Won’t send photos
  • Often unavailable
  • Extravagant lifestyle or career
  • Professional rather than casual profile photo

These signs may mean the person behind the profile is lying. That’s why a dating background check is wise.

Be careful to verify information so you know your research is on the right person. You don’t want to write someone off for something they didn’t do.

Use Search Engines

The best place to start your background check is on a search engine. Get on Google and start checking what you know. Did your potential date tell you where he works? Does she belong to a club?

A Google search won’t disclose arrests or evictions, but it reveals significant public information. It’s a starting point for further investigation. If you find weird or questionable social media posts, you can ask about them in an indirect way. If the person denies or lies, it’s a red flag.

Checking someone’s digital footprint yields useful information. You don’t have to follow or connect with someone to learn more. If your new date appears in lots of photos with lots of different women or participates in activities you don’t like, you can disqualify him.

Be a DIY Private Investigator

If you like, you can be your own private investigator. Consider an anonymous background checking company like for more info on your potential date. It’s a reliable source for finding people and public records.

In a short time, you can find:

  • Criminal records
  • Birth records
  • Public social media profiles
  • Financial history
  • Phone numbers
  • Marriage and divorce records
  • Traffic violations
  • Contact information
  • Online activities
  • Property information

Type in your date’s first and last name, plus the state of residence. It’s the same kind of service employers and landlords use to screen employees and tenants. Don’t feel like a creeper, most of it is public information.

Check for Criminal Records

Did you know that about one in five Americans has a criminal record? Find out if your potential date is one of them by running a county, state or national background check.

You’ll need to know where your date lived. For example, county records only cover crimes committed in that specific county. Most crimes are prosecuted at the county level, so it’s a good idea to do a county check.

If you don’t know the counties where your date lived, try a state criminal background check instead. State records can vary. Some states have all county records in their databases, others don’t.

State criminal records are maintained by government agencies. Local and special law enforcement agencies may have their own internal databases. All states have repositories with the criminal history from the county and municipal courts. Minor criminal offenses may or may not be included in the statewide record.

There is no national criminal database available to the public. So, most national checks are searches of individual states’ online databases. You’ll need to know all the locations your date has lived in across the U.S.

Background checks contain information on arrests and convictions, court records, warrants, sexual offenses, and jail time. Choose the criminal background check based on the amount of information you know.

Use the information from these searches to stay safe when choosing who to date.

Check the Convicted Sex Offender Registry

It’s a good idea to check your potential date’s sex offender status. Every state is required to maintain an up-to-date sex offender registry. The information is public for the benefit and safety of the community.

Use the free search tool on the National Sex Offender Public Website (NSOPW). NSOPW maintains a sex offender registry that includes all state, territorial, and tribal registries. The US Department of Justice also provides the information in a mobile app.

Check Social Media Profiles

A criminal background check tells you if a potential date has legal problems, but social media reveals much more.

Social media gives you a view of their friends, interests, work life, and hobbies. If the social media profile is public you’ll see what they posted. Social posts give you insight into personality traits and interests.

This is your chance to see if you agree with a date’s attitudes and views. The social history may show previous relationships.


Start your social search on Facebook. It probably has the most information. If the profile is public you can view photos to see what your date does, and who they do it with. Look at group memberships and page likes to determine interests and values. You may see where they work.

However, if the person’s Facebook profile is set to private, you won’t see much. It’s best to move onto another social channel.

Another thing — if you ask your new date to be Facebook friends and he refuses, he may be hiding something.


Twitter isn’t as detailed as Facebook, but it can provide useful background information. Most people don’t set Twitter accounts to private. Learn more about personal tastes and interests by viewing past Tweets.

Check the accounts they follow for perspective. You can learn a lot about a person by who they interact with on Twitter.


This business-centric platform won’t offer much on personal interests, but it can be useful. You can verify work and education experience. You can gain insight into professional interests, too.

Compare the LinkedIn profile to the employer website. Do your date’s title and job description match? If he claims to be a vice president, but the company lists him as an assistant or associate, ask some questions.


Instagram is soaring in popularity. If your date’s account is public you’ll see photographs of how he spends his time. You can also learn from the accounts a date follows.

Is It a Background Check or Stalking?

There’s nothing wrong with screening potential dates. A date background check is not the same as stalking. Yet, your investigation could cross the line if you don’t follow some guidelines.

For example, never physically follow someone to get information. That’s stalking. Don’t call or text to see if someone answers. Don’t ever look through someone’s phone without a reason or permission.

Checking public records to learn more about a potential date before you meet is reasonable. Anything more than that is creepy.

Don’t Ignore Red Flags

Your online date may look like a movie star, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t pay attention to details. How does he treat people? Watch for any odd behaviors like mood swings and outbursts. Notice his drinking habits.

If he never answers his phone, calls at unreasonable hours, or is demanding early in the dating relationship, it’s a red flag.

Bottom line? All the research in the world can’t replace what you see and hear in person. Be open-minded, but aware so your online dating experience is a good one.

Dating Background Check Can Lead to Marriage

A study by U.S. researchers in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found that relationships that started online may last longer. The research was on 19,131 people who married between 2005 and 2012.

One-third of those marriages began with online dating. And, the study revealed that the couples who met online may be happier than couples who met in other ways.

The researchers found 5.95% of online married couples broke up compared to 7.57% of offline married couples. The study accounts for variables like age, sex, education, ethnicity, income, religion, and employment.

If you’re dating and want more information, run an online dating background check. It can keep you safe and help you enjoy more dates. You’ll spend your time and money on more enjoyable dates with compatible people.

Now that your background check is complete, try these five fun date night ideas.

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