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Online dating and the benefit of a background check

Date : 05/02/2007

Online dating background check

More and more people are meeting each other online. The success stories of Internet relationships do not outweigh the horror stories. Yet everyday people are becoming involved with a screen name from across the continent, the ocean, and sometimes, the other side of the world. A background check can save hours, days, or years of worry and regret.

The anonymity of online relationships creates a host of potential problems, some of which are dangerous. Predators are constantly working on people and their feelings, luring them into complacency, and then making their strike. The curious thing is, most people that become victims have seen “red flags” throughout the relationship, and their intuition was trying to warn them all along. If information doesn’t add up, dates don’t make sense, or the person seems evasive about his personal life, listen to your intuition and get a private investigator to check out the person and their background.

Scams of online dating

A common scam of online dating is to establish a relationship that feels strong.  The two of you begin to get closer, and start talking about that first meeting. The meeting is set, usually in a location the other person supposedly has to travel a considerable distance to. On the day of the trip, a frantic call is placed to you, usually saying something catastrophic has happened to delay his or her travel. Some examples include lost luggage with the passport inside; lost wallet with all their money, credit cards or money orders; an unexpected charter flight to reach another destination; or detention by authorities demanding money in exchange for release. Remember, by this point you’re hooked, heart and soul, and the anticipated meeting generates a strong desire to make it happen by any means possible. Besides, they’ve never lied to you… right?  The predator asks for money, usually wire-transferred via a money-gram or other means that can not be easily traced. The amounts may range from several hundred to thousands of dollars, and they need it now! You drop everything, rush to your financial institution, send the money, and phone to say that the money has been transferred. With a huge sigh of relief your “friend” thanks you and can’t wait to see you face-to-face. And you never hear from him again.

What can you do if you've been a victim?

Private investigations should be the first phone call as soon as the relationship develops. When you pass the point of casual conversation, take the smart step to protect yourself and check out who the other person really is. In a lot of cases, we find out this online persona doesn’t even exist in real life!

Regardless of where the person alleges they are from, licensed private investigators with the proper resources can discover background information that may verify everything you have been told, or refute it, anywhere in the world.

The options available for background checks are numerous, from simple to extensive. The key is to verify the information people have been given, or establish the factual basis of a scam in the making. A private investigator can find out that the name given isn’t associated with an address or birth date, or often discovers the address doesn’t even exist. The information provided by the private investigator can prevent disappointment. We often say things like, “Well, for one thing, he isn’t a doctor,” and, “She isn’t gorgeous and never married because she was waiting for a special person just like you.”

A private investigator can search state and international records for photographic identification documents to verify the photo(s) they’ve sent. A database search can determine if the address is legitimate, and possibly list the names of the persons living there. A private investigation can yield discrepancies such as birthdays, marriages, divorces, children, etc. How about employment information? Were they really ever in the military? Are they really living on an enormous pension? Are they really in the country they say? Or are they actually living just a couple counties away? An I.P. address (Internet location) search can show where the person is connecting from. The list goes on and on.

Within days a private investigator can perform an extensive background check, field surveillance with video documentation, employment verification, civil and criminal records checks, and verify if names given are really connected. A short phone call can save devastating consequences.

Please consider your safety and security and don’t allow your feelings to cloud your judgment. A private investigator can help make you a survivor instead of a victim.

Article written by:
James Stevenson, PI
Senior Case Analyst
International Counterintelligence Services, Inc.
May 2007

Click here to read about James Stevenson

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