Like many adults, you join a dating website to meet others in your area, and then an individual contacts you. To feel each other out, you chat a bit online and then decide to meet up in a public place. Although, with online dating now far more common than it used to be, this scenario seems harmless, and for most, it is – but not everyone. Because of these small chances, Illinois lawmakers plan to introduce stronger background check policies for dating websites.
Although some states require dating websites to disclose risks and preventative measures, Illinois would mandate that all operating in the state must conduct background checks on all applicants and prominently and clearly display such policies. If a dating website fails to adhere, it violates state laws against consumer fraud and deceptive business practices.
If such a law is passed, all dating websites operating in Illinois will need to check government databases before approving an applicant. More specifically, the site would pull criminal records and sex offender registries to examine each applicant’s history, especially as convicted sex offenders, former criminals, and scam artists have been known to set up dating profiles for luring unsuspecting users.
Widely-used dating websites, such as Match.com and eHarmony.com, already screen all applicants with public sex offender registries. True.com takes it a step further by running thorough background checks, ones that examine state records, on all applicants; according to a piece in the Chicago Tribune, the site has turned away two percent of its applicants.
Online dating is less of a taboo, but risks are still present, from getting ensnared by a con artist looking for cash to ending up assaulted by a convicted sex offender. While caution must be taken with this medium, individuals also have a right to feel moderately secure.