The day may come when running background checks on a roommate or romantic partner will be as common as getting an annual physical, says the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Private investigators — reflecting on two recent cases in which women were killed by romantic partners who turned out to be disguising shady pasts — find it difficult to believe that such searches aren’t common practice already. “If you’re involved in a relationship that’s going to affect your whole life, what could be of greater value?” asked Linda Montgomery, a private investigator who believes even people who are dating should be willing to share credit reports.
The newspaper describes ther two murders and another case in which victims were clueless about their partners’ true identities. Friends and family members were also taken in by the hoaxes. Though experts have access to databases that average citizens do not, there are measures that anyone can take to collect helpful information — or at least confirm the veracity of what they’ve been told. “I think it should become acceptable for people to say, ‘Hey, I’m going to check you out.’ It needs to be a thing like going to a doctor for a checkup,” Montgomery said. Public filings can indicate if a person has owned a home — say, with someone of the opposite sex they’ve never mentioned. For beginners, one investigator advises a simple Google search, putting quotation marks around the subject’s name.