Match Group is bringing Tinder’s free background check to two of its other dating apps: Match (formerly Match.com) and Stir, a single-parent dating site (via CNBC). The system works similarly to Tinder: people can use it to see who they’re talking to or planning to meet, it has a history of “violent and harmful behavior”, according to the company’s press release, although there are nuances there that we’ll talk about in a moment.
When Match Group added this feature to Tinder earlier this year, doing one of these checks was a bit of a multi-step process. The company says the process should be easier with Match — when you talk to someone about a date, a window will pop up asking if you want to do a background check. Clicking on the link will show you some additional information and safety tips, then you’ll be taken to Garbo, the service that actually does the background checks. Once there, you need to enter information about the person you’re trying to escape to, such as their first and last name, phone number, birthday, location, and more. Match itself won’t provide any of this information, according to the help document, so you should know or get it from the person you’re trying to check. Of course, this is easier said than done without raising suspicion.
The payment structure for background checks is similar to Tinder – regular users can run two background checks for free, and Garbo has to pay for another. Premium subscribers get four free background checks. Many people already know this, but it’s worth repeating: while background checks can be a useful tool, you don’t have to trust just one, as the app will provide them all in plain sight. Match Group says Garbo’s results are different — they look at things like arrests, convictions, and sex offender registration data, but don’t necessarily flag things as “disproportionately impacting marginalized groups,” like convictions related to drug possession or sex work — but it’s not guaranteed to get them all.
It’s always best practice to let a few people know when you’re meeting a stranger and give them some time when you expect them to be home. And if the vibes aren’t there, be extra careful or skip the meeting altogether.