So you want to take an online relationship to the real world, but you’d like to double-check that the person behind the other screen is trustworthy. You ask for their SafetyPIN, and offer yours in exchange. They tell you they don’t have one.

Cue the screeching brakes.

They don’t have a SafetyPIN! There’s no way for you to know if the other person is really who they say they are! That means they’re dangerous, right?!

Not necessarily. Before you assume the worst, read on for several perfectly valid reasons why someone might not have a SafetyPIN to offer.

1. They just didn’t know about SafetyPIN!

The most common reason why someone may not have a SafetyPIN is that they haven’t heard of us yet! We’re investing heavily in our technology and security systems before we increase our marketing budget, so it’s possible that they just didn’t know we were around. (That’s where you can help us spread the word.)

So it’s entirely possible it’s not because they couldn’t receive a SafetyPIN due to something in their past. They simply haven’t gotten the chance to get one yet!

2. They applied for a SafetyPIN too recently.

While most people receive their SafetyPIN within 24 hours, some applications take a bit more time than others to review and approve. This delay doesn’t mean that they’re a greater risk-they’ll either have a SafetyPIN or not by the end of our process-just the nature of the beast when working with people and the nuances of their personal and professional histories. (That’s why we also recommend people apply for their SafetyPINs well before they’re needed!)

So, we suggest applicants wait 72 hours before becoming concerned about their application status.

3. They decided not to keep their SafetyPIN up-to-date.

When a SafetyPIN member decides to cancel their subscription to SafetyPIN, we immediately deactivate their SafetyPIN. This protocol is in place because we are no longer double-checking that holder’s information and records to guarantee their good standing in the system.

Now, someone may choose to cancel their SafetyPIN for any number of reasons. Maybe they were using it to find a partner on an online dating site, and they met their perfect mate. Perhaps they were experiencing financial difficulties and decided to cut down on their expenses (though at less than $5/month after that, we like to think we’re affordable for every budget).

Point is, people cancel their SafetyPINs for completely innocent reasons, and those folks are still trustworthy and dependable. (They just lack the third-party verification of their history.)

3. They’re not a United States citizen or permanent resident.

Currently, we only offer SafetyPINs for United States citizens and permanent residents. There are a ton of laws, regulations, and recordkeeping methods that vary between countries that prevent the SafetyPIN team from accurately and confidently accessing enough valid information on individuals in other countries to extend a SafetyPIN to them.

Again, they may be wonderful people! We simply can’t vouch for them through our processes just yet.

4. They’re a private person who doesn’t want someone to access their personal information.

With all the scandals in the headlines…including the Equifax breach and the Facebook data dump, it’s understandable that some folks hesitate to hand their personal, criminal, and financial information over to anyone, even for a background check.

We do everything possible to protect everyone’s personal information through the latest security programs and protocols, including hashing, encryption and selective retention of data [LINK]. However, we understand that trust is at a premium right now, and don’t fault anyone for not giving us their personal information.

That said, we can’t grant a SafetyPIN to anyone who doesn’t give us enough information to verify that their criminal, professional, financial, and behavioral histories lack indicators of future actions that may endanger others.

These private people may have perfectly fine records and be upstanding, lovely citizens-we just can’t vouch for them.

(As a side note: Having a SafetyPIN is a great way to actually protect your personal information since you share it only with us one time. Sharing your SafetyPIN means you don’t have to give everyone wanting to confirm your background your SSN and private information.)

5. They used to have a SafetyPIN, but it was revoked.

Sometimes, we cancel a previously valid SafetyPIN. As we mentioned earlier, it could be because the holder chose not to continue their membership with SafetyPIN, and so we no longer check their background to continue validation.

However, sometimes a disqualifying incident happens after a SafetyPIN is initially granted, which is found during our revalidation processes. When that occurs, a holder’s SafetyPIN is immediately revoked. Anyone attempting to validate that SafetyPIN will be told it is not a valid SafetyPIN.

A holder may appeal this revocation [LINK]. After all, we know that sometimes decisions are made without context, and we want to give everyone a fair chance to state their case. However, we’re ultimately accountable for who we verify, and will do everything in our power to make sure that those with a SafetyPIN continue to exhibit safer and reliable patterns of behavior others can trust.

As SafetyPIN continues to gain popularity, more and more people will have (and maintain) their SafetyPINs to reassure the folks they meet online are safe to meet offline. But until then, offer your own SafetyPIN for validation to help demonstrate your own integrity-and keep asking for theirs.