Now You Can Run Background Checks On Your Dates – Rossen Reports

Dating apps are seeing a boost this year as millions of people across the country look to find love online. You start “swiping” and once you find someone you like, you start talking to them. But once you want to take things off the app and into real life, the fear of something going wrong can be terrifying.

Now, Match Group is giving you more power to protect yourself on dates. It’s working with the tech company to give you the opportunity to do a background check on your date before you meet in person. The feature is available on Match, Tinder and Stir. It will be coming to Match Group’s other online dating websites in the future as well.

How to find it

Through the apps, you can head to their safety centers to get to the Garbo website. On Tinder, the Safety Center is the badge icon located in the top right-hand corner of the app. Then, you will register for an account with Garbo and do the background checks through that.


What information do you need?

After talking with someone on the app, you’ll learn their first name and phone number. That’s all you need to start a background check. If you need to narrow down the search, you can enter in a last name, birthdate, location and even a zodiac sign.

What the website will find

It’s scanning for everything from arrests to convictions and will even scan the sex offender registry. The report will pull up their name, age, aliases they might have used online or in real life, a mugshot, what they’ve been charged with and how the case ended. Reports can turn up domestic violence charges harassment, fraud, or trespassing.


Tinder says it will offer two free background check searches to each person. Then it costs $2.50 plus a small processing fee. With Match and Stir, subscribers will receive four free background checks and free users will receive two free background checks. Additional background checks are $3.25.

More safety information

Tinder has other safety features, tools and processes that are designed to keep app users safe as well. These tools include automatic scans of profiles for red-flag language and images, manual reviews of suspicious profiles, activity, and user-generated reports, as well as blocking email addresses, phone numbers and other identifiers.

  • Photo verification: Once a Tinder profile is created, people are encouraged to complete a verification process to confirm they are the person in their pictures. The comparison is done with pictures they take inside the app as well. Then, those people get a verified blue tick on their profile.
  • Safety center: Inside the app, this tool includes local resources, articles, tips, quizzes and information about safety and privacy features.
  • Reporting: If someone contacts the app to report a concern, the Tinder team reviews the report and takes the necessary action to remove any inappropriate profile from the platform. Match Group’s Trust & Safety team will proactively ban user accounts across Match Brands’ portfolio as well.
  • Anti-harassment prompts: This is for Tinder and Plenty of Fish. The “Are you sure?” feature is a real-time warning to think twice about your opening line. It uses AI to detect harmful language and proactively intervenes to warn the sender their message may be offensive, asking them to pause before hitting send. In early testing, this tool reduced harmful language in sent messages by 10%. Another tool called “Does This Bother You?” provides proactive support to members when harmful language is detected in a message they received. When a Tinder member responds ‘yes’ to the prompt, after receiving a potentially inappropriate message from a match, they will have the option to report the person for their behavior.

“What’s really important is giving people autonomy and empowering them with information and tools. This is information that’s already out there that I believe people deserve to be informed by,” said Tracey Breeden. vice president and head of safety and social advocacy for Match Group.

While Tinder does its own work to make sure bad actors aren’t on the platform, its goal is to give you more control, too.

“I try to look at it as you have to take the approach of how can we help prevent things, how can we disrupt it once it’s already on the platform and then how do we respond to it if something happens,” Breeden said.

Garbo was founded in 2018 by Kathryn Kosmides (current CEO), a survivor of gender-based violence. The goal is to help proactively prevent gender-based violence by providing people with more transparency and information about whomever they connect with. Before Garbo, getting access to these kinds of records was difficult and more costly.

“Before Garbo, abusers were able to hide behind expensive, hard-to-find public records and reports of their violence; now that’s much harder,” Kosmides said. “Being able to reach historically underserved populations is fundamental to Garbo’s mission and the partnership with Match will help us connect with these communities.”

Garbo says nearly one in three women report being sexually assaulted by an online date. Studies show that up to 71% of rapists are serial offenders. Some studies have shown that, over a lifetime, a sex offender can have over 380 victims. Out of every 1,000 suspected rape perpetrators referred to prosecutors, 370 have at least one prior felony conviction, including 10% who have 5 or more.

Safety tips

Breeden has online dating safety tips that are reasonable and realistic.

  1. Look your date up: Before you go out in real life, do a Google search on the person. Look them up on social media. Do a reverse-image search as well. And if you’re still feeling like you don’t know enough, do a Garbo search on them. Figure out who they really are.
  2. Be cognizant of the information you share: It’s okay to share, that’s a part of dating! But just be careful about what you put out there that could put you in danger.
  3. Pay attention to boundaries: How do they respond when you say no? If they violate your boundary a little bit, they will do so in a big way. If they push back or put pressure on you, that’s a red flag.
  4. Video chat/safety features: Keeping them on the platform but video chatting will help you verify who they really are. And make sure you’re using the app’s safety features no matter which one you’re on.
  5. Follow your intuition: If something feels off or too good to be true, it probably is. Trust your gut!

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