There was a time when your social circle was largely based on the people you met at college or work. Other than this, the only possible additions were the people introduced to you by your family, friends, and acquaintances. This is also the reason why the majority of us had no more than a handful of friends or so. However, the Internet has completely changed this today.
Today, an average Facebook user has about 338 friends. And while it’s true that many of these are just “there in the list”, and not real friends or even acquaintances, you have to agree that it’s much easier to make a lot of friends today than it was a decade ago.
That said, there is a flipside to social media and other online communities, which is frauds and fake identities. So, you better make sure to carry the best self-defense weapon with you when you will go to meet an online friend for the first time.
The Risks of Meeting Someone Online
Online frauds and identity thefts are not uncommon any more. You hear about them in the news and on social media all the time. “Catfishing”, which is a technique used by a person to win your confidence by posing as someone else for ulterior motives, etc. is also becoming prevalent.
If you are not careful and decide to go on a date with someone you met online without conducting a background check, then you can become a victim of the mugging, kidnapping, or even something more serious. Fortunately, there are many ways you can background checking someone, such as:
- Google Search
Google search services are used by a larger number of women than men, and it’s natural for a good chunk of these searches to be about gathering info about the people they are planning to go on a date with.
There are two good reasons to use Google search: it’s effective, and it’s free. However, you still need to know what’s the right way of conducting a background check on it.
Start with the name. However, you would need some additional info that’s specific to the person to locate the exact information available on the Internet. This is because there are many people with the same first name and last name. So, to narrow down your search, you can use the full name along with the city. If the city is densely populated like New York, then you may also use their occupation, college name, etc. to further narrow down the results.
If you have a phone number, then you are in luck because phone numbers are unique to each person. So, it should help you find the person on the Internet rather easily. However, since a lot of people don’t share their contact numbers publicly, it may not offer much help. Still, it’s worth a try.
- Social Media
A good way to find out if a person is genuine and not a catfish is to compare their profiles on multiple social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc. The method of searching them would be the same as Google Search.
If you find discrepancies in different accounts, such as different countries, different educational backgrounds, etc. then it’s possible that the person is a poser who managed to create a profile for the particular platform you found them on. Thus, caution is advised.
- Background Check Service
If you don’t mind spending a small amount of money in exchange for rather comprehensive and accurate background information about a person, then you should opt for a professional background check service.
A dedicated background check service can offer you all kinds of details:
- Date of birth, phone number, address, etc.
- Criminal records (if any)
- Traffic records
- Weapon permits
- Educational information
- Occupational information
It doesn’t take long to realize that this option is hands down the best of all. Besides, there are a number of online background check services like TruthFinder that you can sign up for.
All in all, it’s up to you. How much accuracy and how much detail you want about a person? If you just need to do some basic background check, then you can learn about a person through Google search and social media. However, if you don’t want to take risks and want as much information as possible, then a professional background check service is your best bet.