In many situations, people will choose to avoid becoming involved with someone with a criminal record. In fact, the preference is for dating websites and apps that perform background checks on their users.
That makes sense as a precaution. But are we missing out on good people that happen to have convictions?
Numerous reasons can result in a person having a criminal history, including the possibility that the charge was not genuinely their fault, changed tremendously for the better since that time, or didn’t realize they were making a mistake.
None of these things excuses the behavior but joins with a system that felt the individuals were worthy of release into society for a second chance.
It would be best if you always walked on the side of caution with any new date, especially when there’s uncertainty about the nature of the criminal history or the crimes that might have been committed.
Choosing not to date someone based solely on the fact the individual has a criminal record (the suggestion indicates) puts you in the category of an “absolutist thinker.”
It disallows the idea there might be “criminals” (if you weren’t aware of this fact) you might enjoy as a person, want to get to know, and wish to pursue dating.
Some individuals will actually become involved with a person because they’re intrigued by their criminal history, but that’s a whole other article.
Safety tips for dating someone with a criminal record
Dating in today’s digital age means most people you “meet” initially will be through online messaging or video chatting. In some cases, the site will do background investigations, and other websites and apps don’t participate in these things, leaving it up to the participants to disclose histories as they choose.
If there’s a criminal history, many people, for obvious reasons, tend to leave that information out. That doesn’t mean you can’t do your own extensive research to find out these details and choose whether you want to pursue dating this person or opt out.
When meeting someone with a criminal past, or any stranger for that matter, there are safety tips everyone should incorporate. If nothing more, the steps will help to give you a better sense of security to avoid scammers.
An online connection
When making an online connection, you can follow a few tips to help you maintain an air of safety, security, and a semblance of privacy.
Plus, you’ll find careful research will give the necessary details you might be missing on the individual in order to make a more informed decision about whether to pursue an in-person meeting.
Instead of using the same photos on your social media platforms, take different ones for your dating profile. Anyone can do a reverse image Google search of pictures that provide a plethora of information, making it simple to find you on all the social sites.
Steer clear of profiles that seem suspicious
If there is minimal information on a profile, it’s likely fake. For instance, there’s only one photo that doesn’t appear natural, no bio information, and few postings with no comments responding to the ones the individual does make.
These sorts of connections should be avoided since there are such minor details on the person.
Check social media
For those matchups where you have a full name or maybe have usernames for social media accounts, look them up on the social sites to make sure they’re legit. You don’t want to find the person who used a fake social site to establish their dating setup.
Report/Block suspicious profiles
It’s wise to go with your instincts when you believe someone is misrepresenting themself. Perhaps the person was inappropriate with you, or they’re overall suspicious.
You can report the user and block their profile anonymously for safety purposes. Some examples of suspicious activity:
- Has an unexpected personal crisis and needs financial assistance
- Claims extensive education but speaks the disjointed language
- Is abroad for travel, residence, or career but was born in the US
- Tells Outrageous and inconsistent tales
- Falls from the site but then shows up again with a different username
- Claims to want to send treats to your work/home but need an address
- You ask certain questions but receive vague or no response
- Puts pressure on to go outside the app for conversation with a personal phone number or other means
- Tries too early to be overly romantic and complimentary
Behavior that would represent something to block and report:
- Attempting to sell goods or services
- Makes a plea for financial services
- The profile seems to be false
- Makes requests for pictures
- Is intimidating or threatening
- Messages become offensive or harassing
Be selective about the personal information you share, especially if there’s the potential the person has a criminal background.
Personal information shouldn’t be shared with anyone you haven’t met in person, and even then, you should be selective with what you share for some time.
Information to avoid sharing includes your home/work number, credit card information, banking details, and social security number. Social sites, including dating apps or websites, won’t send correspondence asking for login details.
If you receive an email to this effect, delete the document and report it to the administration.
Ignore leading conversations that pertain to financial assistance
Never participate in a conversation that speaks to a need for financial help regardless of how compelling the plea or convincing the individual might be. If a discussion leans in this direction, it’s critical to report the person to the dating app administration.
The recommendation is to look up “tips on avoiding dating scams online” with the US Federal Trade Commission.”
The real-time initial meeting
When the two of you decide to meet in person, there are precautions to put in place for optimum safety and security. You won’t know if someone has a criminal background, particularly if the site doesn’t do background checks.
Someone with a criminal history isn’t necessarily a harmful risk, and a person with no criminal background is not necessarily safe. They just might not have been caught yet. It’s essential to be cautious with everyone you meet. Some tips:
1. Video Chat first
Before you make the decision to meet in real-time after chatting via messenger on the dating app, it’s wise to request that the two of you speak a few times by way of video chat.
Doing so would give you a better feel for who the person is, their characteristics, and that they are who they claim to be. If the individual is greatly opposed to the suggestion, it can be construed as suspicious and a red flag for you.
2. Let a friend know
Send a friend all the date details, including the profile of the person you’re seeing. It wouldn’t be a bad idea to have a friend or two-staged at the place you intend to go for the date for extra precaution.
Let them know when you’ll be going and when you are expected to be back home. After leaving the destination you planned, text friends to advise what’s happening if you head to another location. Contact friends once home to let them know you’re safe.
3. Separate and public
You should drive separately and meet in public on the first outing and probably the next couple, albeit avoiding isolated locations like a park. A restaurant or cafe where there are plenty of people is ideal.
It’s good to avoid your worksite, home, or a familiar place until you feel more comfortable with the individual. It would be best if you drove yourself to the location. This way you can leave when you want. When the date is over, you want to avoid going home if you’re followed.
Go to a public spot like the market. While on the date, speak with the waiter or bartender when you have a private moment and set up some sort of system if there’s a need for assistance so the police can be called or you can be safely escorted to your car.
You must follow your instincts if you feel at all uncomfortable. Ultimately, the priority is that you remain safe. If that means appearing rude by walking away from a date and discontinuing contact, the person will need to understand the circumstances.
Anyone can pose a threat to our safety whether they have a criminal history or not. In many cases, those who do have a, let’s say, “checkered background” but find their way back out into society for a second chance often deserve that from everyone.
It’s not always the criminals we need to be fearful of. In a few instances, some criminals just haven’t seen the inside of prison yet. They’re just good at what they do.
These are the ones to worry most about, especially when they go on dating apps looking for victims to outwit or harm.
In the digital landscape that dating has evolved into, it’s essential to take all the precautions possible to maintain safety and security, plus keep a semblance of privacy until you achieve comfortability with your match.
That might take some time and patience, but no one should put a deadline on gaining your trust.