There are far too many cases these days in which you need to decide whether to trust a stranger. We meet people on dating apps, stay in people’s homes while travelling, and do business with no more than a digital handshake. Most of the time, things work out. But there have been too many reported occasions when trust has proved dangerous or fatal.
That said, we cannot and do not want to go back to how things were before the immediacy of the modern age. There are many benefits when using an app like Tinder or using someone else’s home for holiday accommodation.
The good news is that there are ways to do some investigative work on whether or not to trust a stranger. All you need is their name to get started. Here’s what you can do.
Do an online background check
You may not be comfortable doing a background check on someone before giving them the chance to prove themselves. It can feel sneaky, especially when you are considering dating the person or getting involved with them in some other way. However, if your safety is at stake, it is worth the slight invasion of privacy.
Learn how to find out if someone was arrested and you’ll be able to screen for criminal history. There is plenty more you can find out, including any major incidents in a person’s past.
Doing these background checks is legal because the information they uncover is all open to the public. You’re not going to find out their deepest, darkest secrets, but you will find any red flags that you have the right to know.
This sort of information is especially important when considering whether to date a stranger. It also gives you peace-of-mind when someone new moves into your neighbourhood.
Investigate their social media
There is a lot that you can do on your own, considering that most people have been using social media for over a decade. The very first step is verifying that they are a real person and not a scammer. While scammers may have social media accounts, their activity probably won’t go back very far. If it does, it will have very little engagement, if any.
Social media obviously doesn’t tell you everything about a person, but it can give you some clues. Compare what they tell you to the information available about them on social media. If there are inconsistencies, consider whether they are too significant to disregard. It’s better to ask the person why these inconsistencies exist than pretending you don’t know about them (or cutting the person out of your life).
You can also get an idea from social media of how the person interacts with others, including whether they have hateful opinions. Ideally, we wouldn’t judge a person based on these factors alone. But when you are deciding if they are safe to trust, you should take this information into account. Later on, you can find out the context.
The immediacy of today’s world means we’re constantly meeting new people. Make sure to always prioritise your security