DALLAS, TX—Paul thought he had found the woman of his dreams on a popular, online dating site.
"She was beautiful with blonde hair and green eyes."
But, the successful businessman quickly discovered the woman who called herself, Kristen was a phony. Paul says she told him she loved him after only three days and then asked for $8,000 in expenses to travel to see him. Paul ran a background check and discovered the woman was lying about her name.
"When I confronted her about it she hung up on me."
It is a common threat for those seeking love, online. Safety experts say popular dating sites can be a digital mine field, filled with danger from scam artists, felons and even sex offenders.
Many sites like Match.com don't require background checks for members. Most agree forcing background checks would be messy and difficult, but a North Texas lawmaker says there is a solution.
Arlington Representative, Diane Patrick, is proposing that online dating sites be required to disclose to members whether or not background checks are done. Patrick believes the plan would improve safety.
Online experts say it may be worth a shot.
"Dating sites should offer a disclaimer," Fort Worth private investigator, Catherine Smit, says.
Smit, who owns Stiletto Spy & Company, performs background checks for those who want to check out a potential love interest before beginning a dating relationship. She says that while the disclosure rule would be helpful, people need to realize it would not be a total safety net.
"Members should know if a service does not do background checks. They should do their own. People need to realize that something as personal as dating is their responsibility.
Officials with Match.com say background checks aren't the answer, providing a false sense of security. No one from the site would comment on Patrick's proposal.