With 20 million Americans using online dating sites, how can you be sure that your prospective date isn't married? Or, say, a mass murderer? New online security services—such as MyMatchChecker.com, Date Check, and the Instant National Criminal Search—are offering background checks on people using the nearly 1,500 dating websites in the United States, reports the New York Times.
New York and New Jersey are the first two states to offer some regulations on Internet dating sites, such as requiring sites to post safety tips and to say whether they require background checks of their members. Experts say that many more states will soon follow. Although some sites like True.com insist on background checks for all members, other dating sites say this is a false sense of security because criminal screening databases are imperfect. But with online dating a billion-dollar industry, increasingly government officials and public safety advocates are calling for better safeguards. Failing that, there's always a healthy sense of skepticism: “Don’t give up your heart so fast,” cautions one safety expert. (Read more dating stories.)