Dating apps could now allow users to run background checks amid women's safety concerns

Dating apps like Tinder will soon offer users a background checking service

LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 24: A selection of online dating app logos are seen on a mobile phone screen on November 24, 2016 in London, England. Following a number of deaths linked to the use of anonymous online dating apps, the police have warned users to be aware of the risks involved, following the growth in the scale of violence and sexual assaults linked to their use. (Photo by Leon Neal/Getty Images)
(Image credit: Leon Neal/Getty Images)

Dating app users will soon be able to conduct background checks on potential dates, following an increase in concern for women’s safety in society. 

Match Group, the owner of Tinder as well as a number of dating apps for women over 50, has teamed up with the background checking platform, Garbo, to heighten the security of its US users’ experience. The paid service will debut on Tinder later this year but is likely to be rolled out on all of the company’s dating sites in the future. 

The addition will enable users to access public records of information about people before committing to meeting them face-to-face. All users need is a first name and a phone number to run the background check, which will scan for red flags such as ‘arrests, convictions, restraining orders, harassment, and other violent crimes.’ 

Garbo has since clarified that these checks will not detect charges for drug conviction or traffic tickets unrelated to DUIs.

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This is because these charges disproportionately affect people of color in the US, with the imprisonment rate of black Americans for drug charges nearly 6 times that of whites. Studies have also revealed that police officers are more likely to stop black drivers, making them more vulnerable to receiving traffic tickets. 

Garbo was founded in 2018 by Kathryn Kosmides to help combat the prevalence of gender-based violence (GBV) in this modern era of dating. Reports of crimes relating to online dating in the UK have risen in the last ten years, with numbers rising by 382% between 2011 and 2016. 

Kosmides, who is a survivor of GBV after meeting her abuser on a dating app, believes that her company will empower vulnerable populations by simplifying the background check process. "Before Garbo, abusers were able to hide behind expensive, hard-to-find public records and reports of their violence; now that’s much harder," she said. Rather than relying on external public agencies, users will be able to conduct their own safety research quickly and efficiently. 

The cost to download the app has yet to be confirmed, but Match Group has said that they are working to ensure the price is 'accessible to users.'