How to Scope Out an Online Date Before the Meetup

How to Scope Out an Online Date Before the Meetup

Online date is the greatest invention ever. You search through profiles, find one you like, start a conversation, all without leaving your house. 

Introduction to Online Date:

Online dating is the greatest invention ever.  You search through profiles, find one you like, start a conversation, all without leaving your house.  With a little bit of luck, you find the love of your life and live happily ever after…  In theory.  The reality of online dating can feel like a ring toss game at the fair where you endlessly try to land your ring around a bottle top but fail and go home empty-handed.

But let’s say you’ve met someone online that you really like and are ready to take the next step and meet them in person.  There are zero guarantees that the person you see online is the person you will see in person.  How do you know their profile is real, or they are who they say they are?  This article will give you the answer on how to scope out your online date BEFORE you meet up with them.

Vetting your online date

With online dates, it’s best to have one eye open.  No one says, “Hey, by the way, I’m an ax murderer,” while you’re instant messaging.  So, before you grab a beer with your new love interest, find out who they really are. 

First things first, use your common sense and look for red flags.  Second, use a background check site to conduct your own investigation and run a background check.

Five red flags in online dating

The person is too eager to move offline.

Be aware of anyone who seems to want to move too fast.  Obviously, you don’t want to be stuck with email and instant messaging forever, but it’s worth getting to know someone before you meet in person.  If someone is in a hurry, there could be a reason for it.

Don’t online date someone with no photo 

If the person you’re talking to doesn’t have a photo on their profile, move on. There’s no reason for it.  If the person has the technology to communicate with you online, they have access to a camera, period.

Things don’t add up

This is where your intuition comes in.  If something doesn’t seem right, it probably isn’t.  If your love interest says they’re a vet but are suddenly allergic to dogs, that’s weird.  Or they say they’re a doctor and then get squeamish over a paper cut.  Or they own an apartment and work in Manhattan but can’t stand how many miles they’re putting on their car driving to work every day, you get the idea of Online Date.

Offering a financial opportunity 

Meeting the next Steve Jobs would be wonderful, but it’s not likely.  Being asked to invest in anything is a sign someone’s looking to steal either your information or your money.

They say they have to go away for work/are in the military/aren’t available for a few months

There are a million different scenarios, and maybe some of them are true.  If all their profile photos are in a U.S. Navy uniform and you’ve verified their status, it might be okay.  Otherwise, it’s either a ploy to send money overseas or they’re just not that into you.

Running a background check

If there are no obvious red flags and you’re thinking about meeting an online date in person, another way you can check them out is by running a background check.  Since these sites only have access to public information, you’re not violating any privacy laws, and the completely confidential service means your date will never know you did it.  You, however, will have the safety of knowing the person you’re meeting isn’t an ax murderer or a cyber thief.

Presumably, you at least know the person’s name and where they live.  With this information, you can run a search for information.  If your date is lying, you won’t find them.  Or you will find them and have access to addresses, contact information, business associates, military records, marriage records, and criminal records.  Most times, you will find basic information like current employment, college attendance records, phone numbers, and current location.  This will tell you whether what they’re telling you checks out.

If everything checks out and matches with what they’ve told you, at least you know who you’re meeting with. It’s probably safe. 

Final thoughts

Meeting up with an online date can be scary if you don’t know who you’re dating.  Hopefully, the tips provided in this article will help you to scope out your online date ahead of time.  A little bit of common sense, and research, will help you stay safe and have a great time.

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