Today, relationships are commonly made – and broken – online. This sometimes even happens before you’ve met the person that you’ve formed a relationship with “in real life” (or “IRL”) if you want to use the shorthand.
It’s just the nature of things in the modern world, with social media platforms and dating apps creating spaces for us to meet new people all the time. These relationships that we form with people online, without having met them, are not just of a romantic nature – although this is highly common. We build business relationships with potential clients online, make new friends that last for years (even if we don’t ever meet them) or just become a fan of someone because you like the content that they post.
We obviously need to make sure that the people we build these relationships with are trustworthy, especially in cases where we risk breaking our hearts or handing over large sums of money for a service to be performed. There are even times that those things are not at stake, but curiosity gets the better of us and we just want to know more about the individual on the other side of the screen.
Look, we’re not judging. You need to do your research, so have a look at these most useful hacks to research someone you meet online.
First Stop – Google
Search engines are our first resort when we want to do any sort of research online. We use it for projects, to find services or restaurants nearby, so why not use Google to find out more about a new person in your life – digitally or otherwise. Whatever information you know about a person, plug that into Google and see what you can dig up. Obviously, it’s best to start with a name – common name/surname combinations might be a bit trickier and would require a bit more information to pinpoint the individual you’re looking for.
Google is a powerful tool, so learn how to use it well! Make sure you type in specific keywords – anything else that you might know about the person so that you can add it to the end of your search term, after their name and last name. For example, if you know their first name but not their last name, add their occupation and city that they live in to your search and you should end up pinpointing the person you’re looking for in some way. In most cases, you’ll find one, or more, of their social media profiles.
Check Out Public Records
There are times when you might be a little suspicious of the person on the other end of the dating site or messaging platform. Something just doesn’t feel right and Google hasn’t turned up much for you. In fact, there’s so little about that person on Google that it appears a little too convenient. It’s always worth knowing if they’ve got something more sinister to hide.
If that individual has a criminal record, it would, in most cases, suit you better to not move further into a relationship with them – whether romantic in nature or if it’s business-oriented. It all depends on what the nature of their criminal record might be, of course. Or, in the case of having a budding romance on your hands, you might like to know if he or she is married. Accessing public records isn’t as difficult as it sounds. Remember, public records are public for a reason. You’re able to access them without feeling guilty for doing so and Nuwber allows you to do so from home, without having to go to a public library, for example.
Search Social Media
Facebook is a good place to start since most people use their first and last names there. It’s not always the case, of course, since many people choose to hide behind a fake name.
It’s still very possible to find out more about the person in your sights through Facebook. Facebook’s People Search helps you out with this, even if you know a few key pieces of information about them. You’re able to fill out one or more of the following search boxes: name, current city, high school, hometown, a mutual friend (this one is always useful), employer, college, university, etc.
Narrow down your search this way and then browse through the photo results and hopefully, you’ll see that familiar face.
Reverse Image Search
This is something that will always give you the feeling that you’re doing something really high-tech, making you feel like you’re in a spy movie of sorts. It’s simple and it’s a real thing, and there are loads of ways and websites to do a reverse image search. It’s easy enough, and you can usually find what you’re looking for on Google, too.
Reverse image searching is a great trick and can turn up fascinating results if you’re researching someone online. The truth of the matter is that people like to recycle their profile pictures across different social media websites. If you’ve got a flattering picture, you’d want to use it in more than one place, right? The important thing is that you can save the profile picture that they’ve used on the dating app you’ve met on and plug it into a reverse image lookup or search engine.
This will show you where that profile picture has been used before, including social media platforms or other dating websites. If the image turns up other websites where the profile information matches what you know about that individual, this is usually a good sign since he or she might just be the person that they say they are. On the other hand, if you find that picture used for profiles all over the web, with different names and contradictory profile information linked to it, this is a big red flag. It usually means that the individual is catfishing you by using a random stock image that they’ve found.
At the end of the day, after all the research you do, make sure to trust your gut. If you just feel wrong about the person on the other side, even if evidence points to the contrary, you’d feel better if you were to keep from getting any closer.