It started with her own foray into online dating when she realized, "I don't really know anything about this person I'm about to meet." "It made me think there must be something I can to do to make myself feel safer," she said. No one says, 'Hey, I'm a murderer, let me buy you a beer.'" To help guide you through the curious maze of online cupid services, Coder has amassed a list of social media red flags for IE: Red Flag 1: He's too eager to move your conversation offline. Establishing a separate email and text account is advisable, she says. Just about everyone has a camera on their phone – at minimum.

"If your date seems to know a lot about, say, Vermont for a New Yorker that refuses to step outside of Manhattan, he could be hiding something in his past. Sites like" look at address histories.

"It's also not a bad idea to check if he's a sex offender, you can do that for free on Red Flag 5: He has a great opportunity but he can’t tell very many people about it.

"There are a lot of savvy financial types and several are great but that doesn’t mean you should take financial advice from someone you just met." Red Flag 6: He’s in the military and won’t be back for a few months.

Employers frequently use background check companies to ensure their job candidates have a clean history.

Valentine's Day isn't all hearts and flowers, especially if you're using social media to find your dream date.

Maria Coder, author of "Investi Date: How to Investigate Your Date," has some tips for dating online, and for protecting yourself in a virtual world where anyone can claim to be anything with little or no verification.

Services offered by background check companies vary and can include searching criminal records, financial history, credit reports and driving records.

Landlords also use background check companies to verify their tenants’ ability to make rent payments on time.

Background check companies do the work for employers and landlords by investigating the background and history of individuals and compiling easy-to-read reports.

"He/she could be the nicest person in the world," Coder told INSIDE EDITION.

"Or he/she could be a complete criminal." Read: The Perfect Valentine's Day Gift: Name a Cockroach for Your Loved One She spent seven years writing her book, while working as a journalist. Sure, you don’t want to be on the dating site forever but you shouldn’t feel like you’re being rushed," she warns.