When most people think of online background checks, they usually think of a service that comes in handy when you want to learn more about a person in your life. It’s true that background checks provide a way to research anyone’s history in order to uncover shocking details of their past including marriage records, addresses, contact information, prior arrests, criminal convictions, and much more.
All of this information is public record, and can be accessed through sites like Instant Checkmate, which provides users with background reports about the person in question. However, people often don’t realize just how valuable these reports can be. In fact, there are many situations in which a simple online background check could actually end up saving your life! Check out the list below for three examples of how background checks can help you steer clear of dangerous (and potentially fatal) events.
1. Online Dating Sites
Online dating sites have become the norm for meeting new people and forming romantic relationships. Before online dating became king of the dating scene, people used to meet in person, and they’d get to know each other before they chose to start dating. Now, the process is quite the opposite, and relationship seekers turn to online dating sites in order to find an ideal mate. Don’t get us wrong, online dating sites have helped tons of people to find true love, but that’s not the point. The problem lies in the fact that users are too quick to trust one another based solely on the information presented in their profiles, and it’s no secret that the Internet—online dating sites in particular—is full of creeps, liars, and criminals who may or may not be looking for their next target.
The unfortunate reality in all of this is that the person you’ve been flirting with online could have a dark past and heinous intentions, and surely he or she wouldn’t disclose that type of information to you for fear that you’d run for the hills (which you should). The only way to be sure about the person you’re getting involved with is to run an online background check on them. By doing so, you can rest easy knowing that they are who they say they are, and more importantly, that they do not pose any type of threat to your safety or well-being.
2. Suspicious Neighbors
We all like to think that our neighborhoods are safe and secure, and that when we’re in the comfort of our own homes, nothing bad is going to happen to us. Perhaps it’s part of the old “rose-colored glasses” cliche, but people don’t like to let their mind wander when it comes to their neighbors, even when there are blatant signs which indicate otherwise. Granted, your neighbors could just be a bit eccentric or have weird habits, but to be completely honest, can you ever really be sure about the people living next door or down the street?
Sure you can, if you know them and are friends with them. But what about the people you don’t know? The ones who irk you and give you a bad feeling right off the bat? Those are the people you should be background checking because like we said, you never know what they’re hiding, and if you’re suspicious, then you need to listen to that intuitive feeling. The last thing you want is to have your family, especially young children, living next door to a convicted criminal or registered sex offender, but if you don’t look into it and do your own research, then you’ll never know for sure!
3. Online Marketplaces
Websites like Ebay or Craigslist are a mecca for pretty much anything you could ever imagine. You can buy everything from electronics, to home goods, to furniture, to concert tickets, and anything and everything in between. This is what makes these sites so great, but it’s also what makes them dangerous because there are so many different interactions between buyers and sellers that no one ever really knows who it is that they’re dealing with. Craigslist is particularly sketchy because unlike Ebay in which goods are shipped internationally, the exchanges often take place in person.
Think about it; you go on Craigslist to to buy who knows what—let’s say, concert tickets. You pick your location and run a search on the tickets you want, and boom (if you’re lucky) tons of links appear from sellers who are trying to get rid of the very tickets that you’re looking for. So, you contact the seller via email or phone number (if it’s provided). You then solidify the deal, and decide on a time to “meet up” to make the cash-for-tickets exchange. Hello? Doesn’t this sound like a potentially dangerous situation? Well, seeing as how the seller is a complete stranger, yeah it could be extremely sketchy.
People have been murdered as a result of responding to an innocent Craigslist ad, and many of the offenders were found to have lengthy criminal records prior to these online deals gone wrong. The moral of the story here is that online marketplaces, regardless of how awesome they may be, are inherently dangerous, and you absolutely must exercise caution when buying or selling goods from someone you met on the web. The only way to be sure that you’re not making a deal with a criminal and putting yourself in grave danger is to background check the buyer or seller prior to meeting in person. It may sound a bit paranoid to go to this much trouble, but it’s much better than going to pick up concert tickets and being met with a gun to the face.
Can YOU think of any other situations where online background checks could save your life? Let us know in the comments!