Valentine’s Day is just around the corner and that means millions of strangers will be going on their first dates this weekend. First dates are difficult enough when you already know your date, but they can be downright frightening when your date is with someone you have never met in person. Whether you were set up by friends or found each other online, going out with what amounts to a complete stranger isn’t only a little scary, it’s a little dangerous too.
If you’ll be spending this Valentine’s Day with someone you’re meeting for the first time, it’s a good idea to gather as much information about him or her as possible before you spend an evening alone with them. Here are five ways to investigate your Valentine’s date so you can enjoy the evening without wondering if you’re sitting across the table from a married axe murderer.
- Ask your date questions before you actually meet up
Asking questions is one of the best ways to investigate your date. Take note of the answers so that you can use them as a reference when you move on to the next step of the investigation. If any of the answers seem “off,” try to dig a little deeper. Asking questions and verifying the answers can help keep you safe, can help ensure that your date is who they say they are, and can even prevent you from wasting time with a date who doesn’t check out. Some things to ask include:
- “Where do you work? How long have you worked there?”
- “Did you go to college? Where did you go? What did you study?”
- “What kind of car do you drive?”
- “What are your hobbies?”
- “Are you married? Have you ever been married?”
- “Do you have children? How old are they? What are their names?”
- “How old are you?”
- “Where do you hang out? What do you do for fun?”The answers to these kinds of questions give you something to verify. These questions aren’t invasive or too personal for your date to answer. Some of them are downright boring. However, if your date lies about these things, what else are they lying about?
- Find out as much information about your date as you can and “Google It”
Use everything you know about your date and perform a Google search for that information. Information you can use for your search includes:
- First and last name
- Where they live
- Phone number
- Email address
- Online dating profile screen name
- Their photographThe information you have available depends on how you met your date. If you met online, you’ll have more to go on than if you met your date elsewhere, but even just a name and a city can reveal information about your date. Take your date’s name and other pieces of personal information and run it through Google, Bing and other major search engines.
Your search can uncover criminal records or help you verify that your date actually lives where they say do. Searching for an online screen name or email address can help you find your date on other dating websites and possibly the online communities they are members of. You can use this information to identify any discrepancies in their many profiles and to see what your date posts to the forums or chat communities where they hang out.
If you have a photo of your date, you can run the photo through Google’s Reverse Image Search. Google Reverse Image Search lets you upload a photo and then it searches to see if that or a similar photo is found online. This is especially helpful when looking up dates that you met online. You’ll be able to see if the photo your date used on their profile has been used elsewhere and help you determine if your date really is who they say they are.
- Run your date’s name through the National Sex Offender Registry
Safety is the biggest concern when going on a date with someone you just met. Luckily, the United States keeps a national database of all registered sex offenders. The database is available for the public to search and is kept current due to the requirement that sex offenders register with their local law enforcement when they move to a new area. You only need to know your date’s first and last name to search the database. If you also know the city and state they live in you can narrow your search and filter out erroneous results.
- Find your date on social media
Social media has made it easier than ever to connect with people from all around the world, but it’s also a great tool to check out potential dates. Find your date’s Facebook page, Twitter handle, Instagram account, LinkedIn profile or any other social media account they may have. Facebook will most likely be the easiest to find, so start there.Once you find your date’s profile check it out for any red flags. Did your date tell you there were unmarried? Then why do they have a picture of their wedding day on Facebook? Did they tell you they didn’t have any kids? Then why is there a picture of a “World’s Greatest Dad” mug in their feed and why did so many people wish them a happy father’s day?
Be on the lookout for anything that contradicts what your date has told you about themself. Most people embellish a little bit prior to a first date, but there’s a difference between embellishing something and creating a false reality.
- Run an online background check
If you know your date’s name, and where they live, you can run an online background check through our search. You can find your date’s contact information, address history, phone numbers and even possible relatives for free. You can also access court records and other public documents that can reveal arrests, bankruptcies, divorces and more.
Investigate Your Valentine’s Day Date and Stay Safe
Valentine’s Day puts romance in the air. Everyone wants to be happy and goes out hoping to find their next great relationship. Sometimes that’s the case, but not always. Valentine’s Day and all the hope that comes with it is also the perfect time for a liar to take advantage of you. Instead of leaving everything to chance when you go out this year, take a little time and do some reconnaissance on your date before you spend an evening alone with them. At the very least, it could stop you from wasting your time on a date with another liar.