Swipe left, swipe right. More than 15 percent of Americans have used a dating app or site, according to the Pew Research Center, but reports from 2016 also show that meetups planned through these apps can lead to crimes. These crimes, as reported in the U.K., include serious offenses such as sexual assault.
We don’t mean to be a buzzkill, but ignoring the dangers of online dating can lead to situations that could have been avoided with only a little research. The good news is that you can protect yourself with a few simple steps. KRESS advises that you run a simple search through the sex offender registry for your state.
Who are they?
Tinder, Grindr, Match.com, and other sites only give you, a photo and a few lines of text—not enough to determine if you’re meeting Mr. Right. We advise that you to take a minute a find out about the person.
Does their name on the app or website match an actual person on Facebook? If not, it may be time to go with your gut and stay in for the night. If you do find their Facebook profile, try to determine their approximate age. Even if they haven’t recently had a birthday or the date isn’t listed, you can get a clue by looking at their high school or college graduation year or the year of their first job.
Do they have a clean record?
Once you’ve got their name and birthdate, you’re ready to run a basic check in the sex offender registry. When you run the search through the sex offender registry (if you get a hit), you will find photos, a full name, and their age. Does it match your beau? It’s crucial to take this simple step before meeting your match. You don’t want to find out after the date that you have had coffee (or more) with a sex offender.
Taking the time to research your potential partner will allow you to make a more empowered decision on whether to move forward. More information means better decisions for everyone!
Department of Justice National—Sex Offender Website
FBI Sex Offender Website (The FBI has links to most state registries.)