Have you ever thought of running a background check on someone you know? Maybe you suspect they’re hiding something, or maybe they’re just a little too creepy. The thought of background checking someone might make you feel kind of paranoid, but how about doing the same for the people you don’t know but you’re about to meet?
A background check doesn’t seem so crazy when it comes to scheduling a meetup with a complete stranger. This is especially true with regard to the people you meet online because, the truth is, no matter how much you may know about them from a virtual conversation, you don’t really know them. You only know the person who is presented to you via technology and as we all know, the Internet is prime real estate for people to make themselves seem much more legit than they really are (Cue Brad Paisley’s song “I’m So Much Cooler Online).
A lot people are members of online communities where conversations with others are “just for fun,” and there is no obvious intention of meeting in person. However, there are also many common scenarios where meeting in person is the next step after a virtual conversation. Two examples will be discussed below, but the moral of the story is the fact that running simple background check could keep you out of harm’s way and ultimately save your life.
Online dating sites are extremely popular these days. Just turn on the TV and you’re sure to see commercials for several different sites geared toward different demographics. There is everything from Match to Christian Mingle to Farmers Only (yes, there is a dating site for farmers only).
We’re not complete cynics over here, and it’s true that your date could very well be the future love of your life. But he or she could also be a total creep show serial killer who got a nice profile picture from a Google search. It’s common knowledge that the Internet is full of people who want to “fake it ‘til they make it,” so running a background check can surely help you weed out the riffraff in order to avoid going out with someone who could potentially be a danger to you.
All jokes aside, it is always smart to take precautions when setting up a date with someone you’ve met online because in these situations, your number one priority should be your own safety and well-being.
Who doesn’t love Craigslist? Furniture, art, electronics, concert tickets; the list goes on! Craigslist is an awesome virtual marketplace where people can go to buy and sell items, but it is also the perfect place for scammers. As a buyer on this site, you peruse the listings for a specific item and, when you find what you want, you contact the seller via email, text, or whichever mode of communication they’ve provided. Once you’ve made contact and agreed on a price, the next step is to schedule a time to go and pick up your item (unless the seller delivers, but most Craigslisters aren’t that nice).
This is where things get tricky because a lot of time, the seller simply gives you an address where you can come to give them cash and pick up your items. There is so much potential for danger in these situations, and it is crucial that you do a little research on where you’re going, and whom it is you’re dealing with. In this day and age it is not far-fetched to worry that this random person could be ripping you off, or even worse, luring you into their home to do who knows what.
Ever heard of the movie The Craigslist Killer? Well guess what? That movie was based on real events, so it’s good to have a little bit of suspicion when doing business with complete strangers. If the person seems a little sketchy, then they probably are. So ask for their name, and take it as a huge red flag if they give you any grief about giving it out. Take the time to do a little research and run a quick background check because in the end, you’re better safe than sorry . . . or dead.
Ashley Welter is a writer for Instant Checkmate, an online service that provides tips on staying safe when meeting people.