Through my extensive research into dating websites, matchmaking professionals and the "21st Century dating scene" overall, I have run into individuals who believe that hiring a Private Investigator to conduct a dating background check is an intrusion into a potential partner's privacy.
Some have even compared it to cyberstalking. And I said, "Cyberstalking? Really?"
As a professional, let me be clear: Initiating a dating background check on another online dater is NOT cyberstalking.
Cyberstalking is the online harassment of one individual by another. A cyberstalker has a malicious agenda that may include identity theft, false accusations, bribery, slander, defamation of character...the sordid list could go on and on. Further, cyberstalking is considered a criminal offense, and can result in a restraining order, probation, or even jail time for the assailant.
By contrast, a dating background check is an important way, through publicly available criminal, civil and other records, to ensure the safety of innocent online daters who might fall prey to individuals with salacious or physically harmful intentions. Checking is not stalking! It's "fact gathering," and gathering all the facts about someone you meet online for personal reasons is simply prudent and careful.
From another perspective, consider that very few people, if any, would balk at hearing about how a concerned parent ran a background check on a potential nanny. In that case, the intention of a background check is to ensure the safety of the children, the family and the home.
Similarly, dating background checks allow online daters to safeguard themselves. They are an excellent way to confirm whether the person you might begin dating or engage in a serious relationship with is, in fact, who he or she claims to be.
And don't let someone convince you that engaging a Private Investigator is problematic or threatening in some way. To the contrary, it should give you peace of mind – because all of the information we gather to compile our reports comes from public sources best known to Investigators. There is no violation of privacy involved in what we do – ever!
Private Investigators are especially valuable in performing background checks because we have the experience, knowledge and access that most other background search companies do not. Plus, other companies and online services lack the resources to truly educate their clients about online dating safety and, ultimately, protect them and their loved ones.
At Dating Backgrounds, we take our jobs as Private Investigators seriously – and that means stopping any stalker dead in his tracks.
Next time: The real "scoop" on why many online dating services don't want to recommend or affiliate themselves with dating background services.