A simple Google Search can provide information that can either improve your confidence or make you more uncertain in the person you’re trying to court. At the previous company I worked, we called this a “Google Analysis.” The goal was to help vet potential dates for our clients and also investigate our own client’s digital footprint.
This analysis was performed to see what information is out there to easily link someone to their real identity, such as a LinkedIn/Facebook account. Google searching or “creeping” as I like to call it, is par for the course in today’s online dating culture. As someone who directly studied self-presentation at Rutgers, my research consistently showed daters are looking to gather as much information about your “actual-self” as possible. To make sure they’re not getting an embellished version of your “ideal-self” (more on the “two-selves” in a future post).
What’s creeping you ask? Creeping is when you try to search any and every angle you can to churn up more information on a match you’re interested in. This search will often intensify leading up to a first date and/or post first date. Whether you want more photos to gauge accuracy or simply want to see if they are who they say they are.
Regardless of your reasoning, here are a few tricks I’ve successfully used in the past.
Google Image Search
This is easier to do when you’re viewing dating profiles from a computer. Right click on an Image and then click “Search Google for Image.” You’ll be able to see any other site that image is posted on. This way if it’s stolen, you’ll be able to tell. You’ll also be able to potentially find out more information of who this person is LinkedIn, Facebook, Blog, ect.
It’s more work on dating apps, but you can screenshot profile pictures, crop them out and then upload them directly to Google Images.
First Name, Town, Job, Education
Combination search is a deeper dive. You may need to look through a few pages of Google until something relevant pops up. The search would look something like “Kevin, Boston, CEO IceBrkr, Rutgers.” You can try to shorten or lengthen various combinations to see what pops up.
Email Address or Telephone Number
The simplest search is the phone number or email address. Getting someone’s email address is rare with online dating in 2017. Switching over to email communication is an outdated process, but may still be relevant to the order dating community.
Phone number search is the quickest and often most direct route of finding someone’s identity. You can find some old random Craigslist ads, but if you put a phone number directly into Facebook search you’ll often be lead straight to their profile.
Creep With Caution
A little word for the wise – creepin can have it’s downfalls. Far too often we look for reasons to say “no” to meeting someone when we should be looking for reasons to say “yes.” I often performed these searches to help protect my clients own identities – it works both ways.
From your own personal perspective, someone finding out who you really are on a dating site isn’t the biggest deal. In a way, we’ve all made a deal with the devil when it comes to our privacy online. Many apps and websites directly have access to our personal information that’s used for marketing and other promotions.
Try all of these techniques on yourself, based on information that’s currently in your profiles. You may be surprised at what you find. Certainly not trying to freak any of you out. Just bringing some awareness to online dating safety and our digital footprints as we all creep, creep.
An example of a particular case in protecting my own clients identity: I performed a basic Google analysis and discovered there was a charity event at our client’s house. The link to the article included her home address, which is a little too close for comfort. As a result, we signed emails with her first initial and placed her home location in the next town over (Match.com was the site she was on). This was a way to deter easy access to our clients full identity.