Growing up, I had my fair share of nicknames; there was Rona Barrett , Jessica Fletcher and my favorite that has stuck with me and currently is the title of my upcoming book Sherlock Homegirl.  I’ve always been nosy, but since nosy has such a negative connotation, I prefer the word inquisitive.  As an adult, I can’t say that I’m any less inquisitive, but it has definitely helped when it comes to dating. According to a survey of 2000 people by dating website OurTime.com, 37% of the women and 29% of the men said spying on a significant other is acceptable. I hear the teeth sucking loud and clear, “Well, if you have to snoop then maybe you shouldn’t be with that person?”, that is what you’re thinking right?  I tend to think that not every flag raised is going to be a red one. Some flags of a cheating significant other aren’t as significant as others. That flag may be a little pink, as opposed to red.

Red flag:  You find a receipt for a box of condoms in your husband’s car and the two of you haven’t used them since saying “I do”. Then you get head butted.

Pink flag:  Do you  know a cell phone secret squirrel? Oh, you didn’t know your significant other had a google voice number? You might want to check that out.

In my dating career (I call it a career because shit is hard work sometimes) there have been times where I’ve been compelled to snoop on a potential date, especially in the world of online dating.  Personally, I think snooping is something that should be done, especially while partaking in the treacherous waters of online dating. I’m not talking about breaking into emails, or reading text messages (been there done that) my version of snooping consists of doing simple online detective work.

Men and women lie. But of course the statistics will weigh heavier towards one gender, but that’s another subject.  If the world was filled with actual single people dating, it would be different, but unfortunately the dating environment is filled with married people or even people in so called “monogamous” relationships masquerading as single people. When the ring comes off and the significant other is left at home, everyone looks the same.

From my own experiences, I’ve learned that online dating can be a cesspool of married men. Take it from me, the shit isn’t easy.  In order to find out information about people, sometimes snooping via online research can be valuable.  I always tell people, when you meet someone from an online dating site, whether it’s Match, E-Harmony, OkCupid or Craigslist, be cautious and try to find out other information about them before the actual date.

Here are a few simple tips:

● Something as simple as, taking someone’s email address and searching for it on Facebook, can yield amazing results. Remember that man or woman who claimed to be single, well finding a family portrait on their Facebook page could prove otherwise.

● If you’re lucky enough to have an actual physical address and you know the person is a homeowner, find their area’s local tax assessment website, pop in their address and see who’s actually on the listing, occasionally, a married couple will have both of their names on the buyer and tax assessment information.

● Google is your friend. Google their first and last name and when that wedding registry pops up, you have your answer.

Sure, you can always rely on just asking the person, “Hey, are you married?”, but who’s to say they’d tell you to truth.

Red Flag: Well, see I’m kind of separated, you know, we don’t share beds or anything, we just live together.

Pink Flag: No, but I do have roommates and I don’t really bring people home. Also, don’t call me unless I call you.

In the book I’m currently working on, the stories shared a pretty hilarious and pathetic at the same time. The fodder that my friends and I have pretty much proves that you can’t be too cautious when it comes to the world of online dating.  No one wants to become a victim of someone’s lies, so the more resources at your disposal the better. You too can become a Sherlock Homegirl, or boy.

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  • adnamaj

    OMG! I tried the local tax assessment websites! Caught a few people lying about home ownership! Lol! Thank you so much!

    • Rob

      LMAO!!!

  • Kacey

    I know this was supposed to be a light-hearted read, but there are three very important resources everyone should know about (all are public and free):

    1. Your state’s Department of Corrections website. I believe almost every state in the U.S. has now gone online with inmate and arrest records. You can find out if your potential boo has ever been arrested and/or convicted of a crime and the general details.

    2. Sex Offender Registry. Very important – especially if you have children. You should know that there are men on these sites who specifically target single mothers just to get near their children. A good tip is to not mention your children at all in your profile – save that information for people you are actually interested in and are conversing one-on-one with.

    3. Your County Clerk’s Office. There you can find out lots of information about this person – such as marital status (marriage records and divorce proceedings), home ownership, money judgements and other liens.

    Be safe ladies. I read somewhere that 30% of men on dating websites are married. Add to that the number that are in what should be monogamous relationships, and what you have is a pool of men where at least half are ineligible.

    • The Comment

      I love a woman who does her homework. The state corrections office is stop # Numero Uno! I wouldn’t pay for those sites that give you info cause they always get an e-mail notifying them as of who is searching for them.

      But I really do appreciate the in-depth advice you gave. It might just save a life.

    • Nic

      Seriously, it is not that hard to do your homework thanks to the internet. Google is your friends ladies (and gents). And keep your legs closed until you have done your homework. It should be like a dissertation…your info needs to vetted over a pretty long period of time to make sure it is valid.

      Of course, I’m never sure about people who ignore red flags like never going to someone’s home (clearly not safe if you’ve just met but something that should eventually happen), never meeting anyone from the person’s life, and getting called, texted, emailed at odd times.

      I mean, someone who wants to pull a full con with a second life that seems full enough to trick a person with regular common sense should have to really invest a lot of time, money(as in a second home or apartment), and effort to fool you, unless you just WANT to be fooled.

      I think a LOT of involved men play around on the internet b/c the barrier to entry is so low, and people use aliases on those sites.

  • Leo the Yardie Chick

    If you asked me this question 8 years ago, I would have said, “No way! That’s wrong!”, and a whole bunch of other rose-coloured glasses phrases. Then I watched one of my best friends get emotionally abused and betrayed by a p.o.s. boyfriend. Said p.o.s. was already in a relationship (and was expecting a child) while he fooled my friend and the group for almost 3 years; his name was the only honest thing he ever told us. My friend was devastated when it came came out, and I was ready to kill him. >_<

    The point is folks lie. Men lie. Women lie. People lie. If you can check them out before hand, please do so – both with on-line and real-time dating.

  • gwaan gyal

    Ahhh!! This JUST happened to me. Recently got into online dating. Met a cool guy a week ago..had a GREAT phone convo..met for coffee the next day and hit it off really well. Couldn’t remember what his last name was…so I decided to research using his phone #. Luckily, his name is quite unique so my search yielded some good results. Turned out this dude is married (or perhaps divorced) with 2 children under 5. Saw how much his house cost..saw that he and his wife (ex wife??) are listed as residents of the house…saw his wife’s old twitter page (that’s how I found out about the children and such).
    I basically found out all of this b/c of his unique name…superadvanced academic achievements, linkedin info, etc. This would have been a lot harder had his name been john smith or something.

  • Snooping, in a security context, is unauthorized access to another person’s or company’s data. The practice is similar to eavesdropping but is not necessarily limited to gaining access to data during its transmission. Snooping can include casual observance of an e-mail that appears on another’s computer screen or watching what someone else is typing.