Before the advent of online dating, people used to meet their dating partners in real life, making it slightly easier to get a feel for personalities, lifestyles, families, personal assets and compatibilities. Internet-based dating admittedly is a more convenient way to meet people, but it's got its inherent pitfalls as well, such as misrepresentation, scammers, no-strings sex-seekers, cheaters, scammers and plenty of brazen liars. There is no perfect system, and dating will always have risks, but Colorado's new Lumidate service seeks to keep folks honest -- by requiring full background checks for all members.
Serious criminal records aren't something your date always wants to reveal early on...or ever. Okay, so most people have done stupid things in their pasts like getting slapped with parking tickets or tearing the tags off their mattresses, but there are certain criminal acts that when convicted, should be the subject of admission to potential dates in order for them to make informed decisions about whether or not they want to partner up.
"Everyone has different standards on what are the most harmful lies and what hurts the most, but typically the most destructive lies are the most harmful ones," says Linda Dusenbury, President & CEO of new Colorado dating site Lumidate says. "When I founded Lumidate in November 2012, I made a commitment that our website would provide a healthy environment for relationship seekers -- one that provides peace of mind and an empowering experience for our members and subscribers. I was seeking to make this a service to inspire dating confidence, promote safe practice and encourage personal responsibility, choice and accountability."
The Internet is full of liars -- good ones, bad ones, some really great ones -- and there is a huge difference between shaving off a few pounds on a profile and pretending to be a well-heeled, super model hottie who travels internationally and farts gold dust. Those dipshidiots are usually easy to spot and avoid, but it's the lower-to-mid-level liars that seem to be the most successful at suckering dates into believing everything from "I'm single!" to "I'm gainfully employed and don't live in my auntie's pool house."
"In my experience people bend the truth in order to get what they want, and sometimes that's not in the best interest of the other person who wants someone to be who they say they are," says Dusenbury. "The ever-changing world of interpersonal relationships in the digital age allows for so much obscurity that individuals who join online dating services typically have no option but to believe what they are told."
Using free, or even super low-priced online background checks aren't a bad idea, but if you're interested in someone you meet online, are ready to have an in-person meeting and want to be sure what you 're getting yourself into, then cough up the cash and enjoy the myriad benefits of a full, professional-grade background check.
"After we review the member's completed profile (content, pictures, videos, etc.), as well as their membership agreement and questionnaire, we request a thorough background check from our contracted vendor, who has direct access to all available national and county arrest and conviction records, civil court records, sex offender registry and marriage and divorce record," Dusenbury says of Lumidate's process. "If an applying member has any arrest or conviction for a felony, their membership is immediately denied, and a notification is sent to them outlining the reasons for the denial. They will have twenty days to appeal this decision if they feel the background check information is erroneous. Any member who is not legally single will also be denied a membership."
Nothing is one-hundred percent fail-safe, though.
"We cannot guarantee that criminals will not access our site, but we do have many precautions in place to help us attempt to catch them if they try to become a subscriber to our site," Dusenbury says. "We also utilize a 'Your Feedback' option from our subscribers to bring any questionable individuals to our attention. The background check vendor that we utilize has many stringent processes in place that help to ensure we do not let felons, sex offenders or married/separated individuals on the site."
Catfishing, a term fans of the MTV reality show Catfish are familiar with, involves liars scamming other people for money. "It gives new meaning to, 'HEY! I hooked a big one!'" Duenbury says. "A common goal and progression of catfishing is to develop a relationship hoping to request and receive money from the unsuspecting object of their supposed affection. Passing yourself off as someone else works in the movies or novels, but all too frequently online daters unknowingly become 'involved' with who they dreamily consider Mr. or Ms. Right only to find out that their new love interest doesn't exist."
A premium subscription to Lumidate costs $29.99 for one month, $66.65 for three months and $119.13 for six. Active subscribers will be rescreened monthly to determine if any negative activity has occurred (at no additional cost -- unless negative information is returned).
As part of the site's initial membership drive, Lumidate is giving away 1,000 free premium memberships to the first 500 men and 500 women who successfully pass their background checks, and everyone who joins during this drive will also be registered to win an iPad Mini. New Colorado and California members will have even more incentive: the chance to win a professional photo shoot with www.photographybyhillarykaye.com. To sign up or learn more about Lumidate, please visit Lumidate's website.