How much should you know about a date you meet online? - WFMJ.com News weather sports for Youngstown-Warren Ohio

How much should you know about a date you meet online?

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Valentine's Day is just around the corner and as the saying goes, love is in the air. It's also online.

A recent survey by Match.com finds the internet has become the number one place for singles to meet. And according to the online dating giant from December 26th to Valentine's Day is their peak season.

"Online dating platforms have become the most common way for singles to meet," said Dr. Justin Garcia, Scientific Adviser to Match.com.

Yet, for some, finding the perfect person seems to be an endless search.

Terry Hempstead with Tri-State Investigators in Boardman is a licensed Private Investigator. She said more people are beginning to use their services to learn about a potential date.

"We see more if it now then we did over the last five years," said Hempstead.

She encourages anyone getting ready for a date to do their homework first. Especially, since popular sites like Match.com, Eharmony.com, and FarmersOnly.com , all boldly state in their terms and conditions that they currently do not conduct criminal background checks.

"We find that some people have actual families and are married," said Hempstead.

Hempstead said there are a couple different ways they can go about getting information. A criminal background check through the Bureau of Criminal Investigation detects any criminal records within the state. The check costs $32, but can only be completed with the consent and fingerprint of the individual.

The other route is much more conspicuous. 

"Most of the work we do is just on the internet using different search engines," said Hempstead. "We use a lot of social media tools, Facebook, old Myspace."

The results could glean a lot of information or turn up empty. Because the search can take hours the cost starts at $200. 

But, how much information is too much information?

A survey by Match.com takes a close look at dating trends.

As part of that study, they looked at social media etiquette and found that less than 1/5 of singles say it's OK to connect over Facebook, Instagram, or Snapchat before a first date.

We spoke with Match.com about that survey.

"Based on the data we can see that people totally understand if you're going to do some searching and you might look them up on social media platforms, but just as you would if you just met someone at work or as a new friend, respect some of their boundaries," said Garcia

Regardless, of your comfort level when it comes to connecting online there are some steps you can take to protect yourself. The National Cyber Security Alliance suggests to always tell someone where you are going, who you are meeting and to keep your cell phone charged.
 

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