Rancho Santa Margarita, CA (PressExposure) May 30, 2009 -- SweetheartChecks.com was created to assist both women and men in protecting themselves from potentially dangerous situations while using online dating websites. Now consumers can research a person's criminal history in the United States with complete anonymity, including whether their subject is a registered sex offender.
Cathy Taylor, President of SweetheartChecks.com talks about why she started this new service, "Online dating brings new and higher levels of risk to the world of romance. I think knowing the truth about a person upfront is the best way to protect yourself; especially in these difficult economic times. Some women still want to believe that nothing bad will ever happen to them. I've been involved in the background check industry for 30 years now, and I can tell you this idea is naive. People regularly lie about who they really are - especially when their background includes jail time or a sex offender conviction."
According to Jupiter Research, the U.S. online dating market will reach $932 million in 2011. In 2006, PEW statistics reported over 10 million users who were currently single and seeking romantic partners online. 26% of American adults, approximately 53 million people, say they know someone who has gone on a date with a person they met through a dating website. 57% of internet users surveyed agree that many people who use online dating services lie about their marital status.
Taylor continues, "Trusting someone new always carries risks including meeting at unknown restaurants or darkened movie theaters. Why would anyone put themselves in that situation in this day and age without first checking to see if the person has a criminal history? It just doesn't make any sense. But there is a part of us, particularly women, who still want to look the other way and hope for the best. A friend of mine is marrying a man she met on Match.com next week, and I had to convince her to run the criminal check because she didn't want to hear any bad news. Denial is a powerful detractor."
But online background checks aren't without controversy. In 2005, Michigan proposed a new bill that would require Internet dating companies to conduct background checks on users. Under the legislation, online dating services would have to warn site members about safe dating practices as well as define the limitations of background checks.
Taylor responds to allegations that online checks aren't reliable, "The critics are absolutely right. There is no universal database that contains all criminal records for the U.S. I wrote an article about the limitations of online databases awhile back which people can read by going to the articles section of our website. The bottom line is consumers need to know that these checks are not 100% because not all criminal information is available in one database or online. There is human error involved and technology limitations, and because of increasing privacy restrictions, researchers continue to lose access to more identifiers on public records making it harder to get accurate data.
"Keeping that in mind," Taylor continues, "I am confidant that the SweetheartChecks.com search is the most trustworthy single-source, online criminal database check available on the market today. We will also add additional services in the future as we identity their value as well as determine if they meet our quality standards. One thing we do that other companies don't, is to educate our users about the limitations of online databases so users can make an informed decision before spending hard-earned money. We also educate people about public records researching regarding other things such as marital status. We began with this criminal search that includes registered sex offenders so that users can get their feet wet for a nominal fee. All the consumer needs to complete this search is a full name and optionally, a date of birth. We make it so easy and affordable that consumers don't have to depend on their online matchmaker for criminal checks, and dating websites don't have to provide services they don't have any experience in."