Site offers snooping for online lovers

Internet daters appear to be wiping the stardust from their eyes, and instead are cocking an eyebrow and wondering, “Just who is this person I met online?” At least that’s the view posed by the newly launched Web site, which offers to do background checks on that special someone.

“You need to be cautious and know who you’re bringing into your house and into your personal space,” said Screen Your Mate marketing director Tanya Scurry.

Scurry and her mother launched the site recently as an offshoot of their Bloomington, Calif.-based company Inland Empire Screening Services, which provides background checks primarily for employers.

Clients have recently begun requesting screening for dates, and with the boom in online dating sites, an idea was born, Scurry said. For US$169 the curious can receive a background report that includes a search of marriage licences, state, criminal, civil and property records, tax liens and sex offender database findings. The service can figure out if your prospective mate has a roommate, an ex-spouse or is a deadbeat dad, Scurry said.

Screening takes about three to five business days, Scurry said, and the entire process is confidential. While online daters may look into the site’s “girlfriend-boyfriend” screening package, a “pre-marriage package,” ” pre-divorce package,” “spouse package,” “deadbeat dad package,” and “long lost love locate package” are also available. And the search for old flames and unsupportive fathers is just US$70.

To have searches performed, a suspicious client needs to hand over only the first and last name of the beloved. A state of residence, date of birth and Social Security number are also a big help.

While all these precautions may lead one to wonder if Internet dating is more trouble than it’s worth, Scurry said she believes online dating is here to stay, but those who meet dates that way need to be careful.

At least one online dater rankled at the concept, however.

“I think going behind someone’s back and investigating them is just wrong,” said Alexis Rossi, a San Francisco resident who has dabbled at finding love online.

“The loss of privacy is getting ridiculous…and I think that most people have enough sense not to invite someone they don’t know into their homes.”

But, according to Scurry, you can never truly know someone until you check.

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