State Rep. Wants Online Dating Check

By Arezow Doost, CBS 11 News

AUSTIN (CBSDFW.COM) – A North Texas lawmaker is trying to make online dating safer for everyone across the Internet.

State Representative Diane Patrick of Arlington is proposing legislation that would requires online dating sites like Dallas-based to say if they do background checks on their users.

The bill would not require the sites to do the checks, just to tell users if they do them or not.

“I think it’s important that consumers be informed with information they need to make a good decision,” says Patrick.

The bill would also require online dating providers to publish a list and description of safety measures designed to increase safety awareness.

In a statement, said that background checks could create a ‘false sense of security.’  Other popular dating sites like E-Harmony also say on their site that they do not require checks.

But one company, Irving-based says background checks are part of the deal when you sign up.  “We felt like online dating should be safer dating,” says CEO Ruben Bell.

Bell says denies membership to more than 35,000 applicants a year based on background checks.  “Everything from check fraud to grand theft auto to rape, murder and then of course sex offenders.”

The Texas Department of Public Safety says a basic background check costs $3.

  • Debbie Williams

    I used E-Harmony but was only matched with a few men in six months time so I decided to try I have also used another dating site called and I will have to tell you that I have been scammed by several men on there and thought might be different…but had the same thing happen. There are no safety measures in place on the sites. Men use or steal identity including pictures of other men and even use unknown childrens photos as their children. These men go to great lengths to get money from women…down to giving you a faults address and describing the cars in the driveway. I also have to warn that they say they are local or profile does and they are of course half way around the world working. I just wanted someone to know what alot of women are really going through but are too embarrased to tell!

    • Dew

      I used, and and all them had the same issue, scammers. They did nothing to prevent this. The first thing I did when I met a guy was to run his name and info (provided on the site) through the scammers websites. Can you guess…they were ALL in the database. I finally met three real men (not fake id’s) and I am still with one of them. The point is these men are professional scammers and are known scammers and the dating sites should be held to the same standards as other businesses. Even minimal investigation finds the scammers. As for you giving money to these guys, I know how they work and that a lot of women might not pick up on the fake guys but any time they ask for money (any amount) if you give it be sure you know it is a scam. I had a guy send me flowers, was flying in to spend the weekend and when he was suppose to be at the airport he called and said his father had died in Africa and he had to fly there instead. He then over the next 2-3 weeks started asking for money…he was robbed…his father’s business partner was trying to kill him…etc. etc. I refused to send money and referred him to the US Embassy for assistance. He eventually became angry and after much verbal abuse he finally got the message. He also tried to get my address…to ship me his father’s assets, which the delivery company would then charge me the shipping for. I did not fall for that either…RESEARCH everything and believe the worse. That way you will be pleasantly surprised when you find a true man.

    • Tom

      You might try meeting people in Church, or at the grocery store, rather than via the computer! Oh yeah; you don’t have the time. Where then are you going to find time for the dating? Get off your butt and deal face-to-face with live people!

    • Michelle

      Why the heck would you give them money? And if it happened once, why did you fall for it again? Frankly I don’t believe your story.

    • Andrew Rhodes

      The same goes for men being duped. I have come across men posing as women. They are trying to con others based on their desire to find a potential partner. They use photographs of beautiful young women and then proceed to ask for money by the third message. It usually goes along the lines of needing money to help an ailing grandma. C’mon. Those idiots in Nigeria think that we can’t see through that nonsense?

      Just respond to them saying that there are not enough syllables in the word no to express the noness of my no!

    • Tim McCaskey

      I sympathize with your plight Debbie, but as the Romans use to say; caveat emptor (let the buyer beware). Even if you know someone well it’s usually not a good idea to lend them money. To quote Shakespeare: “Never a lender nor borrower be.”

  • Just Me

    Wow Debbie, that is terrible.

    I used online dating and only met one person ever and he happens to be my current boyfriend for over a year. I don’t know how you are going by with guys but you should never be giving someone you rarely know money. It took me two months to meet my current boyfriend in person and that, of course, was at a central location. I wouldn’t tell him my “real” last name for a few months as well so finding my address wasn’t happening that quick either (maybe it was wrong to lie about my last name initially but he understood due to crazies out there today and my apprehension of online dating at the time). Just as with an in-person hook up, you should be careful with whoever you meet.

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  • Angry customer

    Not sure I understand the purpose of a background on site considering that the site doesn’t even WORK for what it’s supposed to do.

    If the site’s design is intended to take your money without giving you anything in return, I guess it works fine.

  • rd

    Having background checks isn’t going to help anymore with an online service than anywhere else if users don’t use their common sense. Giving someone you don’t know well money? That’s just stupid, and that would have probably happened even if she met him at church, because no common sense was involved there. Then there’s the obvious fact that many people using online dating simply lie about their appearance, their name, where they live, everything, simply because they only want a sex partner. I’m not bashing online dating, I met my current boyfriend of almost 8 years there, but come on people, use the common sense you were given.

  • Rod

    This would make a dating service cost too much because the background cost would be passed on to the customer.What if these loosers met someone at a party or anywhere else they wouldn’t have a background check done.It is the same difference.People know to meet their “dates” in public or a group date.Sounds like Diane Patrick has had a bad experience with these services!

  • Richard

    Lawmakers need to stop wasting our tax dollars on dumb stuff. This is just a feel good law. So some jack leg can get reelected. And what about the first time offenders? And exactly how is it going to help the user by saying hey we did a check? For those that dont get it.. This will just be a tool used to shift liability so users can sue the sites later for not blocking questinable users. This would be like passing a law to require users to do the background check and make an informed decision. Just dumb help me protect me from myself.

  • Texas Legend

    The problem with a background check through DPS is you only get convictions. Then you only get what the county reports and approximately 66% of the counties in Texas do not report convictions to DPS. If a person is murdered or raped and the Perpetrator is released on bond, that arrest will not show in the DPS criminal check. If the major offense occurred out of state, DPS will not have it. So, to say a criminal background has been done is a false sense of security.

  • Debbie Williams

    Tom…are you married? PROBABLY NOT!!!! Especially with that additude! I have been to Church and there are some cons there too…and sorry but when I go to the grocery store I go to buy groceries not pick up men. As far as getting off my butt and dealing face-to-face with people….I work an evening shift in retail and my customers are mainly elderly or married….so anymore advice you would like to give me????

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  • Alfred Dato

    I think we giving online dating sites a bad rap when we really shouldn’t. Like ANY other channels to meet other single minded people, you will find this is true of meeting people at bars, clubs and just like Debbie Williams put it, you will find cons even in Churches.

    My take is, are we going to do a background check of every person we meet offline ie when we go to clubs because if the rules exist for dating sites, why not other places where singles meet?

    I think there are unfortunate number of people who have been disappointed with meeting scammers on dating sites, but how is it possible to get hoodwinked online? If I wanted to dish out money, I would like to know who the person I am dealing with and not just a pretty face and words behind a photograph. I would talk, converse and get to know the person otherwise how can I possibly know that this person will be ok with me in my real world.

    The situation of meeting con-artists applies in all areas including in our daily lives. We are constantly having to battle with people vying for our attention, trying to trick us into doing something we don’t want to, trying to sell us things, take our money in every conceivable way possible. Honesty and trust comes from trusting your own feelings and following your own intuition and it applies both online and offline.

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