Browsing backgrounds

By Sharna Johnson: Freedom New Mexico

With the rising ease of using social networks and public record databases online, people admit they’re doing informal investigations to know who they’re dealing with.

Information on personal interaction, marital status, child support delinquencies and even criminal convictions is a click mouse away.

Sharesse Sawyer of Clovis said she has gone on dates with people she met online, but checks them out first using Google, MySpace and online court records.

People often misstate their situations, post fake photos or don’t disclose their backgrounds truthfully online, she said.

“You can create your own MySpace page and make it say whatever you want,” said Sawyer, 23. “A lot of people don’t think you’re going to check up on them… They lie about jail records, divorces… most guys are lying.”

Sawyer isn’t the only one who admits to checking up online.

Siobhan Flatow, 19, said she is engaged to someone she met through a combination of church and MySpace. Because of their mutual connections, she said she didn’t feel the need to check her fianc