Background investigation for internet dating
A Cleveland firefighter, George Greer, was indicted last June for raping a woman he met through an Internet dating site.An online dater in New York City, actor/musician Franca Vercelloni, said background screenings "couldn't hurt matters" but should not be a reason for dropping one's guard."You're not going to rely on what you learn from the online profile anyway," said Vercelloni, who's in her late 20s.
Those who aren't afraid to take matters in to their own hands have plenty of options.However, Vest's many critics in the industry say he is acting mostly out of self-interest.They contend that True.com's screening method - running names through state databases of criminal records is incomplete and too easily thwarted, potentially creating a false sense of security for customers."It's so superficial that it's worthless," said Braden Cox, policy counsel with Net Choice, a coalition of e-commerce companies that includes Yahoo, AOL and other major players in online dating.There are no authoritative national statistics on serious crimes arising from online dating, but such cases periodically make headlines.A Philadelphia man, Jeffrey Marsalis, was accused of raping several women he met through Match.com, and was sentenced in October to at least 10 years in prison.“We know exactly what we are looking for," she says.
"Our researchers have access to advanced software which trawls thousands of databases in a very short time.
Last month, New Jersey became the first state to enact a law requiring the sites to disclose whether they perform background checks.
- the only large online dating service that already does such screenings - was elated by its successful lobbying and hopes other states will follow suit."The online dating industry tends to get a real bad rap, because of criminal activity," said True.com's founder and chief executive, Herb Vest.
And is probing into the background of a new partner the ultimate passion killer? ” asks uk, a service which background-checks partners and dates. But it is easy (and tempting) to stray from little white lies to bigger deceptions, and online daters are having to get more savvy about checking up on those they meet on the web.
“Both males and females come to us,” explains Laura Lyons, founder of Aretheysafe, "wanting to know whether a person is married, living with someone or in fact of no fixed abode, any of which could be red-flag issues.
A relative newcomer - founded in 2003 - Dallas-based has drawn attention with racy ads as well as background screenings.