[Ed's note: #TinderTales is a weekly column that attempts to look at online dating. This week, our Tinderella tells us about that time she almost dated an alleged robber! Have a story to share? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org]
Divorced and newly single, I went on at least 25 first dates in the summer of 2016. I worked at an Artificial Intelligence startup directing operations, and thanks to online dating platforms, in what little free time I had, I dated and I dated a lot.
I was on Ok Cupid, Bumble, Plenty of Fish, Coffee Meets Bagel, TimeWaster.com, — you name it, I was on it.
Online dating is a lot of things and one of them is: Frustrating.
It was very, very frustrating. For instance, even though I had spoken to my matches beforehand, I would still show up and find too many inconsistencies from their profiles.
I went on dates where I was surprised to be sat across someone who was 10 years older than what their profile photo showed. “But you wouldn’t have been in my matches if I said exactly how old I was!”
Exactly the point.
Then I met a man on OkC, a 92 percent match. He was 36 years old, a tech startup recruiter who was looking to “find someone intelligent, down to earth, and can keep up with [his] depraved sense of humor.”
He had a gorgeous dog, didn’t eat kale, and was “really good at treating you like a princess.”
We instantly connected, texted constantly, and took our conversation out of OkC and into other platforms. We became Snapchat friends, and made plans for a Monday date. It couldn’t come soon enough.
While waiting for Monday, I decided to run a social media check on him aka "stalk" him.
Being that I was worked in tech and used online dating platforms too much, I had already developed an algorithm to vet my dates that I didn't use nearly enough. I thought now would be a good time to use it.
I found him.
There he was in all his glory: This super cute guy I had a date with IN TWO DAYS had allegedly robbed a bank less than a year ago. But wait there's more.
I found his wedding website, declaring he was supposed to had been married in October 2015, but was arrested the day before.
He went MIA until February of 2016 and his return to social media showed he was happy to be back with his dog.
When I asked for more details, he admitted that his fiancée left him after coming clean about robbing a bank. He was just trying to live a normal life before his trial.
I Snapchatted the screengrab of his CCTV photo to him. “WTF” I said.
His first reaction? “How did you find my last name?”
His second question was “So I guess our date it off?”
What's a woman to do? I was somewhere between really, really angry and really, really sorry and this confusion led me to do something.
I created a company based on this very experience to make sure that everyone in an online dating platform had someone to turn to, in case they wanted more information on their dates. No data algorithms, just people you can hire to check out someone’s electronic footprint to see whether or not someone robbed a bank or is a sex offender or is still married.
Because every bad experience has some silver lining, right? As for my dating life, let's say it took an interesting turn since everyone know what I do for a living. People who are trying to hide something don't tend to try to date me anymore so that's a plus!
And as always, I use my own service to vet and verify the people I'm talking to so I can be sure I'm not missing any big red flags. — LA, GMA News
Julie Nashatawy is an American who founded Aste*, a Boston startup that offers research services to online daters, by scouring through public information found online.