Some of you daters have probably already heard — Match.com is going to start checking its members names against a list of sex offenders, says CNN. For the record, I don’t expect this to go well. Why’s that? Because there’s no foolproofing online dating — or any kind of dating, for that matter. Dating anyone at all, ever, always carries at least a grain of inherent risk. That’s not to say we shouldn’t do it, just that we shouldn’t be naive about the realities of opening yourself up to another person.
As LiveScience attempts to clarify, this legal effort simply isn’t going to protect Match.com customers. Match never verifies a user’s real name, so users can simply give false info. Exactly like anyone else that you ever meet anywhere in the dating world ever can give false info. (Sure, a coworker is probably going to show up in the office database with their real name, but s/he may still choose to falsify other information about themselves, such as the status of their marriage or sexual orientation or IQ or jeans size, etc.)
Bottom line is, some people lie. Others don’t. The vast majority of people fudge a few things here and there, until they start to get to know the person they’re dating better — because that’s TOTALLY NORMAL. I certainly don’t condone outright lying, but plenty of people lie by omission (failing to indicate that a certain photo was from 20 years or pounds or marriages ago), and plenty of people are dishonest with themselves and others about how ready they are to date, what they’re seeking in a partner, whether those jeans make you look fat, etc. If you’re concerned about security and safety when online dating, GOOD. That paranoia instinct alone will help protect you. Use your gut. Learn to spot red flags. (If that doesn’t come easily to you, hire someone to help, read a good book, have friends check out potential dates’ correspondence or profiles, and follow basic safety tips even if they don’t make sense to you.)
This class-action lawsuit isn’t going to truly protect anyone, in my professional opinion — it’s just going to lull future online daters into a false sense of security, making them think they can slack on the carefully cultivated, common-sense-based safety tricks that *every* single person should employ. I sincerely hope no other daters stumble into bad circumstances like these poor plaintiffs, but this legal “solution” is a farce that I fear will do more harm than good.