January 19, 2023
We’ve seen a lot of uses for public criminal records in the past years, from visitor management to various online platforms. These data sets continue to be important tools for promoting community trust and safety. But one industry where this type of information has been relatively absent in helping to keep people safe is in the world of online dating.
The underutilization of criminal data for online dating safety is unfortunate, if not dangerous. As use of online dating services continues to increase, so do instances of predators misusing them. We constantly read about these bad characters signing up for a dating platform, then targeting unsuspecting users, whether to do them physical harm or defraud them.
Given this common grim scenario, what if online dating platform providers could give daters information about a person’s criminal behavior before connecting with them? And what if those daters could use that information to make their own decisions about whom they want to meet in person?
To answer those questions, let’s first look at who’s out there using online dating, take a look at safety issues plaguing this industry, and explore 4 ways easy access to criminal data can add a layer of safety and protection to the use of online dating platforms.
Use of online dating sites has been on the rise for years. Currently, 30% of US adults say they have used at least one online dating platform. In 2017, revenue reached $710 million in the US and was projected to reach $1.29 billion in 2022. It is currently the number one way people meet each other, and that’s not changing anytime soon.
Unfortunately, crimes committed against online daters have also been on the rise. Things like “romance scams” and violent crimes are included in statistics reported by several different sources over the past five years.
Did you know 53% of all women do not feel safe using online dating? They continue to use dating platforms because they’re the best way to meet people they might want to date. And to be fair to online dating platforms, many people do start wonderful relationships online. Also, most online dating sites try to educate participants about how to safely date online.
In addition to the physical safety risks of online dating, romance fraud is another way predators target online dating participants. Daters lost $1.5 BILLION in 2021 because of these types of fraudulent behaviors.
While every dater should consider safety when using these platforms, the desire to find a special someone might be stronger than the fears. But what if online dating platform providers could give them a quick, easy way to feel safer?
Easy access to criminal data can help daters avoid those shady characters. By giving them insight into criminal data information, they can proactively assess the risk of a person they may want to get involved with. It could potentially keep daters from mental harassment, physical abuse, or losing thousands of dollars through dating fraud.
Approximately 26% of men and 32% of women claimed to have feared for their safety when online dating, with 23% of men and 39% of women going so far as to block someone completely or report him or her to the dating site or app.
What if online daters had an avenue to look at a person’s available criminal data (if data is available) before they made plans to meet someone? Wouldn’t that give them some peace of mind knowing they had access to this data if they choose to use it? The answers seem obvious–of course they would!
Online daters could easily have access to criminal and people-risk data to help them make safer decisions. This visibility into certain types of people data can provide helpful insights and are comprised of the following:
This information provides data-driven help for daters who would like to make informed decisions about the people they interact with before it is too late and a negative experience happens. The negative experiences we talked about earlier could cause them to stop using the platform altogether or, worse, suffer mental, physical, or financial harm. No one wants that!
How do online daters feel about their safety using online dating platforms? Not great, according to the above statistics. Connecting with other online daters is essentially meeting up with strangers and taking their word for who they are and what their intentions are.
By giving users the ability to access one of the largest criminal databases in the US, online daters can do a simple criminal record search to understand if matches they are interested in have a dark past, like domestic abuse, sex offenses, or theft.
Is dater churn up because people don’t feel safe using certain sites? Would they choose to remain on a dating platform if they felt safer because they have access to criminal data? These are questions every online dating site should be asking.
Giving daters the choice to run a criminal data check on people they may potentially meet in person could build loyalty. While there are dozens, if not hundreds, of tips for safe online dating, this is one safety tool that online dating platforms can help provide for their users – easy access to important, need-to-know criminal data. Wouldn’t you want to know if you’re about to go on a date with a known sex offender?
Want an effective way to build your dating community? Providing a safer place for people to meet other people would certainly be a positive step to creating a community of daters who value your efforts to keep them safe. It also allows you to stand out against the competition by offering that extra layer of safety insight.
As an added bonus, providing this capability as an additional safety measure for online dating can help keep negative experiences among your dating community to a minimum, which decreases potential for bad publicity – a win-win for your online dating community and your platform.
These are just four reasons why it’s important to provide criminal data access to daters. Adding that layer of protection would give daters a way to proactively assess dating risk, which is something most dating platforms don’t currently provide. Pioneer safety for daters and get out ahead of the competition.
At Tessera Data, our goal is to provide people with access to information that may keep them safer – people like online daters – helping them make better-informed trust and safety decisions.
We want to help support efforts to make online dating safer. To achieve this goal, people-risk data needs to be quickly available to those who are vulnerable.
Tessera Criminal Data can make a difference in the safety of online daters as well as the reputations and revenue of online dating service providers. Partner with use to:
Contact us so you can get started using criminal data for online dating safety today.