Tinder Just Released In-App Background Checks

Avoid meeting up with the next Swindler.

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Tinder now offers background checks for matches.
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Even if you’re an online dating pro, meeting up with a stranger from the internet can be nerve-wracking — and even dangerous (looking at you, Tinder Swindler). It’s why you and your friends put on detective hats and dive deep into the internet to search for your match’s entire life history. But now that some dating apps plan to offer background checks, it could make the vetting process a little easier.

Match Group, the company that owns apps like Tinder and Hinge, has partnered with Garbo, a background checking platform founded in 2018 by Kathryn Kosmides, a survivor of gender-based violence. In-app background checks rolled out to Tinder users on March 9, 2022, making it the first Match Group property to offer a Garbo feature. Other Match Group dating platforms are expected to follow in the upcoming nothings.

The goal of the feature, according to a Match Group statement, is to help “proactively prevent gender-based violence by providing people with more transparency and information about whomever they connect with.”

Using nothing more than your potential date’s first name and phone number, Garbo can scour through public records for reports of violence or abuse, including arrests, convictions, restraining orders, harassment, and other violent crimes. The check won’t include arrests related to traffic violations or drug possession since those disproportionately impact marginalized communities.

"Before Garbo, abusers were able to hide behind expensive, hard-to-find public records and reports of their violence; now that's much harder," Kosmides said. "Being able to reach historically underserved populations is fundamental to Garbo's mission, and the partnership with Match will help us connect with these communities."

Read on to see the dating apps that have background checks or are expected to offer them.


The in-app Garbo feature on Tinder is available in Tinder’s Safety Center. Each Garbo search costs $2.50, along with a processing fee per transaction — though Tinder’s offering two free background check searches to each user, up to 500,000 free searches total.

To access Garbo, tap on the blue shield in your app and go to the Safety Center. You’ll see a Garbo article that leads you to fill in your match’s basic information — first name and phone number.

Tinder is encouraging members to report a match who has a history of violence, as they won’t be storing users’ background-check information, according to The Washington Post.


The feature could eventually expand to Match Group’s other dating sites, including

Since Garbo is not-for-profit, $2.50 is certainly more affordable than traditional background checks — and a lot faster.

“If you’re trying to make a safety decision, you’re not going to pay $95,” Kosmides said. “And you don't have time to wait six weeks for the results.”


Then we have Hinge, the dating app that is “designed to be deleted.” And who knows? Adding Garbo — and weeding out all the red flag folks — might just be what helps you find “The One.”

According to Match Group, the Garbo partnership aligns with the company’s commitment “to investing in the latest technology and third-party expertise to combat bad actors and empower users with tools to help keep them safer.”

That said, even with a background check, it’ll still be important to take safety precautions when going on a date. You’ll want to meet up in a public place, leave information with a friend — like where you’re going and the name of your date — and text a loved one as soon as you get back home.


OkCupid, another Match Group app, asks multiple-choice questions to help guide you towards people who share your interests — at which point it’ll be entirely up to you to keep the convo rolling.

While nothing is fool-proof, these pre-date chats are yet another way to figure out if someone has any red flags, such as a history of abusive relationships or other behavior that would put you at risk.

Once you learn their first name and phone number, that’s when you’ll be able to take the extra step with Garbo and get the background check.

POF (Plenty of Fish)

As one of the largest dating sites under Match Group, it’ll be interesting to see if Plenty of Fish rolls out a background checking option, too. Because when it comes to technology that keeps people safer, the more widespread it becomes, the better.

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