6 Ways To Background Your Date

So you’ve been texting someone from hookup.com and you’re ready for your first date.

But who is this guy? To find out, your first thought might be to do a fee based background check. After all, you want to protect yourself and these pay sites promise they can find anything.

But do you even know what you’re looking for? And if not, why should you expect results because you threw money at them?

The Overrated Criminal Background Check
When most people think PAID BACKGROUND CHECK, they’re almost always thinking about a criminal records search. And often, they have no idea what to look for. No clue on what’s truly important.

Granted, it’s a little off putting to discover your date is a dangerous child molester. Or that he may have beat up his last girlfriend for eating too much dessert at the Taco Bell.

But most people don’t have criminal records. So you won’t learn much if the guy’s missing a rap sheet. It would be like thinking he’s safe to date, simply because he has no cavities or was never seen wearing a pink tutu.

Other Things You Want To Know
For example: What about the guy with no criminal record who’s hiding he has VD? Or the ex Boy Scout/choirboy who just happens to be lying about his age, his property or the fact that his recent photo is from the Carter administration?

These are the things you won’t find in a criminal records check. And trust me, you’ll want to know about them.

Easy Ways To Weed Out Creeps & Liars
Your first step is to confirm the information he’s told you about himself. Has he given you his correct name, his true age, or concealed or misrepresented things about himself? 

For example, does he rent when he says he owns? Is there a woman on the deed to his house? Does he have 5 different dating profiles with different ages… Or do any of his photos turn up on scam lists or at ashleymadison.com?

As Mahatma Gandhi once said, “Little lies are like little wildfires. Both are far more dangerous than they appear.

How To Search Criminal & Other Databases (excluding Google)

Less is more. Don’t fill in gender, race or county. Your attempts to be specific will cause you to miss valuable records. At first, try with just a first and last name only, no middle name. If you get too many hits, then add a state. For more see People With Common Names-How To Background Them.

Free Links To Do A Real Background Check

1. Reverse Searches of Cell Phones, Emails, Photos, User Names, etc
Most people volunteer information about themselves. To verify and uncover additional information about them, be sure to plug their contact information into these free reverse lookups.

As a byproduct you’ll often get their middle initial or middle name, age plus other places where they’ve lived. This can come in handy for the criminal searches which come later! For when you know he’s lived in another state, you’ll be searching there too! 


Red flags include not being able to find his name, or finding a different age or another person with his contact info. Check several sources as they’re sometimes wrong. For more see Verify Their Marital Status-Part II.

Look them up on at least three of these sites to see what comes up.  Often you’ll get a history of addresses, phone numbers and even prior jobs and schools they attended. And of course, their all important middle name or initial which is great for Google searching.

Note that employment and education are self reported and almost always taken from LinkedIn and Classmates.com. So take it all with a grain of salt.

But even false information on employment and education can be helpful. For example: Maybe your John Smith lied about going to Harvard. But at least you know it’s him when you see the same guy posting the same lies on imacheater.com!


Red flags include not being able to find his name, or finding a different age but with the correct contact info. Also note additional states he’s lived in and if there are female relatives within 12 years of his age. Could be a spouse. Check several sources as they’re sometimes wrong.

Once you know he’s given you the right name, and you have his middle initial, search for arrest mugshots, and the obvious criminal records. For example, federal prison records, sex offenders and the national databases for misdemeanors and felonies. Don’t search with his middle initial. Just keep it in mind when you see the results so you know it’s the right person.


Red flags include finding his mugshot, or his name with middle initial or any contact info that leads you to believe it’s really him and not someone else with the same name. For more see Is The Crime Still Online?

4. Googling

Don’t forget to Google him by name, as well as by any of his addresses, phone numbers, emails and usernames. For phone numbers, try like this 678-587-9228 and (678) 587-9228.

For names, Google with and without quotation marks.

John Smith
“John Smith”
John R Smith
“John R Smith”
John Roland Smith
“John Roland Smith”

Too many hits? Then add their city or state. (or a prior city where they once lived.)

 Googling For Drama

To see if they’re a hot mess, you can add words like arrested or convicted or sentenced or indicted or fraud or lawsuit or plaintiff or defendant or married or divorced. If for example, the age/relative lookups show he only lived in two states, you can plug these in to further narrow your Google search. For more see Google Like A Pro (Quick Tips and Verify Their Marital Status-Part II.

5. Bankruptcies & Bad Debt
Bankruptcy records are free and it’s always good to know in advance if he can’t handle his finances. Obviously be on the lookout for recent bankruptcies. For more see the Sleuth For The Truth blog on Free Bankruptcy Records.

6. Verify Their Profession/License or Certifications
Are they really a doctor, lawyer or teacher? Many professions are listed at the Secretary of State or state bar or state medical boards. And for government workers you can also verify their position and salaries.

For more, see the blog on Who’s Dating My Daughter?

Don’t sit on your hands. And don’t think you’ve got it covered with just a criminal background check. The free links above will help you uncover the lies, half truths and omissions. So be safe and don’t forget to bring along your pink tutu.

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