Should Online Dating Sites Be Required To Do Background Checks?

Almost anyone who has ever visited — let alone actually joined — an online dating site knows going in, or quickly learns, to take everything they read and see with a grain of salt. A really, really big grain of salt. But the recent case of a convicted killer, awaiting trial for yet another murder, who posted a profile on has gotten some people talking about adding regulations to these sites.

Online dating professionals say that many users join these sites, especially pay sites, under the misguided assumption that everyone they meet isn’t a creepy killer.

Says someone from

I can understand why daters are getting a false sense of security — they’re paying a fee to be on their site.

Meanwhile, folks like the above-mentioned convict troll these sites, never mentioning their multiple homicides, or even the fact that their pictures are four years old and have been photoshopped to death.

In 2008, New Jersey passed a law that requires dating sites that don’t do criminal background checks to prominently disclose this fact on the site.

One analyst thinks background checks are going to soon be a demand from the people that spend over $800 million this year on online dating sites:

If clients demand better screening, or screening in and of itself, then operators will have to deliver that… This is a very competitive industry, and service is something that stands out.

Meanwhile, a lawyer who represents some dating sites says that background checks and legislated regulation gets into murky legal territory:

Should that individual be forever prohibited from engaging in romantic relations using a Web site? There are so many shades of gray that it would be difficult for online dating sites to come up with a blanket policy.

Where do you come down on this? Would you be more willing to join a site that does a criminal background check on its members?

Match made in hell: Dating services may not do criminal checks [SeattlePI]