Have you ever seen a master illusionist do a card trick? One second, the queen of hearts is in your hand, and the next, it’s behind your sister’s left ear. Card tricks, like many illusions, are designed for you to walk away from the experience wondering…

“How did I miss that?”

The illusionist meant to deceive you. He was doing his job.

Unfortunately, there are people who use the Internet with the exact same goal. If you’ve ever talked to someone who comes across as Prince Charming online, who seemed just too good to be true, he probably is… like the story of the “Dine and Dash Dater.”

That’s not to say everyone looking for a date online is out to scam you. But you should realize that very few dating apps run a background checks on their users – or even give the option, so it’s important that you always put your own safety first. And the first step is to make sure you’ve verified their identity and their background before meeting up in real life.

Catfishing is one thing. But you certainly don’t want to risk your online dating encounter turning into an armed robbery!

And it certainly doesn’t stop with dating…

Offering a Background Check Doesn’t Mean It’s Required

WATCH: How would a SafetyPIN help?

Did you hear about Gus Gus, the poor Bulldog who died in the care of a highly rated sitter he found on Rover?

But wait… that sitter must have been background checked to be able to take care of Gus Gus in the first place, right?

Not necessarily. Many sites, including Rover, make their background checks optional for sitters. Only those displaying a badge on their profile have gone through a background check.

And last year it was discovered that Home Advisor was only doing background checks in certain states, even though their commercials brag that they offer this service.

But even when they do a check, it’s not often as thorough as you’ve been led to believe…

Popular Background Checks Can Fall Short… Very Short

Some sites do background check all their service providers, but most standard checks are very limited so you still can’t be sure.

Did you know…

  • Most background checks stop at the county line, but most criminals don’t. If your babysitter committed a crime in the next county over, it might not show up. Isn’t that scary?
  • Plus, hardly anyone does regular re-checks. Who’s to say that someone with a clean record today won’t commit a crime in six months?
  • Every state has different laws regarding background checks, and available information on a person’s criminal history varies by state. Even we were shocked at first to learn that the most commonly used databases have less than half of US states reporting to them.
  • And even then… up to 40% of all crimes go unreported, and that number is as high as 70% for sex crimes! Believe it or not, only 310 out of every 1,000 sexual violations are even reported to the police.

And that’s why we developed our proprietary behavioral review… to weed out the people who might cause you harm but haven’t been caught… yet.

Do Not Trust, And Always Verify

Keep in mind; you should never rely on background checks as a replacement for your own judgment about who to meet up with in real life. If your spidey senses are tingling, or if something just doesn’t seem right, move on.

If you suspect someone you met online is too good to be true, trust your gut. And even if no red flags are going off, you need to protect yourself.

So before you meet someone in person, just ask:

“Hey, here’s my SafetyPIN… can you send me yours?”

Relying on other background checks may mislead you into doing business with a conman or a criminal. Asking for someone’s SafetyPIN is the only proven fast track to trust.

Related: The 5 easiest things to remember if you feel awkward about asking for someone’s SafetyPIN

Watch this short video to learn more about how asking for a SafetyPIN can keep you safer: