By Bradley Corbett

We live in an age of digital content. Every picture you post and every word you put online are stored somewhere. It makes finding out information about another person a whole lot easier.  And with online dating constantly growing, it’s important to do your due diligence before meeting up with strangers.

When you finally meet in person, it’s not exactly appropriate to ask someone if they have been convicted of a crime or if they have had troubles with the law in the past (especially if you want a second date).

Here are three ways to research your next date that you may not have tried before:

1. Google. 

Yes, we’ve all Googled ourselves but next time; try searching for your upcoming date. If they have a common name, it may be a bit trickier but try some of these search terms to get more specific:

- Date’s Name + Birthdate
- Date’s Name + City, State
- Date’s Name + Job Title/Company
- Date’s Name  + Mugshot
- Date’s Name + Blog
- Date’s Online Username
Google’s Image Search — put your date’s picture in Google and it will find similar pictures of them on other websites.

Cupid's Pulse Article: 3 Ways to Background Check Your Next Date

Related: Date From Hell – 10 Ways to Get Out of It, Tactfully

2. Social Media.

I’m sure you’ve probably Facebook stalked a date before but if you really want to dig in, there are many other social networks you can investigate to learn more about and upcoming date.

- LinkedIn — What’s his/her employment history like? Watch out for frequent job changes or long periods of unemployment.
- Twitter — Not only can you see what they’re tweeting, you can dig into the people they follow to learn more about their personality.
- Pinterest — Even guys are on Pinterest these days. Check out the types images they pin and see what they’re into.
- Flickr/Instagram — Is he posting a picture of a new date every night or his Grandma? Whichever you prefer, it’s good to know.

Related: 5 Ways to Avoid a Bad Date Before It Happens

3. Public Records.

Most counties and states publish public information somewhere on their website even though it’s not always easy to find.  You can look up a variety of information about a person like:

- Land records
- Criminal records (and mugshots)
- Licenses
- Assets
- Marriage Records

Despite how wonderful someone may act during your first few weeks together, there is the off chance that they’ve been convicted of something like domestic violence or sexual offenses in the past. From my experience as a Criminal Defense attorney, the people being convicted of domestic violence or sex offenses are often repeat offenders. In situations like this, it is better to be safe than sorry.

Do you always want to know?

You’d always want to know if you’re going out with convicted rapist or a chronic thief but sometimes intense prying can mess up something great. If you are with someone that you really care about and trust, you may want to avoid going overboard.

It’s always a good idea to do a general search on someone that you’re with, but remember that individuals make mistakes and may have been convicted of a petty theft or a DUI 10 years ago which isn’t always reflective of who that person is today.

Bradley Corbett is a Criminal Defense attorney in San Diego, California handling a variety of cases from petty theft to DUI to manslaughter.