Internet Dating Sites to Screen Illinois Criminal Records

Law Office of Philip R. Nathe

With many romances originating through online dating websites, the need for safety measures has increased. But for those with past criminal records this may not be an option as the collateral consequences of a past conviction expand beyond employment and housing background checks. A DuPage County expungement can be helpful in sealing old records.

Many states are now considering legislation requiring sites such as Zoosk and Match.com to disclose whether their participants have undergone a criminal background check.

According to a report by the Chicago Tribune, the Illinois legislature is considering such a law to reassure online daters. The proposal would force dating sites to disclose to customers whether they run criminal background checks before users can start contacting potential dates. The disclosures would be displayed prominently (and repeatedly) to remind potential subscribers of whether candidates have been vetted.

Websites that fail to post such disclosures (or falsely advertise that they do background checks) would violate consumer protection laws. Violations would carry potential fines of up to $50,000.

Protecting Internet Daters

The bill is based on the increasing need to protect users from dangerous people who hide through online personas. The Tribune report featured several prominent stories about online romances that turned bad. In one instance, a North Side public relations executive who used a dating site to meet women for drinks was accused of sexually assaulting two of his dates. In another, a man is accused of defrauding a woman he met online out of $225,000 with false promises of high-yield investments.

A number of dating sites conduct background checks already. Match.com and eHarmony currently screen subscribers against public sex offender registries. True.com screens participants by searching state and county databases for felony and sex offense convictions. Nevertheless, the bill’s sponsor, state senator Ira Silverstein D-Chicago, believes that it would provide an added safety measure in online dating sites.

Source: Chicago Tribune “State Urged to Lower Risks of Online Dating” January 26, 2012

Link:
Internet Dating Sites to Screen Illinois Criminal Records