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The Short Version: Founded by Julie Nashawaty, who was almost wooed by a bank robber on a dating site, Aste is on a mission to reduce the risks associated with online dating. Aste’s team of professional investigators offer a hands-on, proprietary service that scours the web, social media, official records, and other sources to discover all pertinent information about a potential suitor before you meet. By delivering data about your match within 24 hours, Aste is helping the world fight online dating fraud and giving singles peace of mind that their dates aren’t hiding any red flags.
Most singles who’ve been in the online dating game for a while have come to expect a bad experience or two. However, not many have been courted by someone out on bail awaiting trial for bank robbery. That’s exactly what happened to Julie Nashawaty.
She said he seemed to have the ideal profile — from his “quest to find new and fun activities” down to his perfect dog and his dislike of kale. He was perfect for her, or at least he seemed to be.
They connected, texted and Snapchatted non-stop, and arranged a date. Julie then decided to play private investigator on the web prior to meeting him in person, and she wasn’t prepared for what she found.
On a news site, she discovered her potential date had been arrested a year earlier for robbing a bank. She went further down the rabbit hole and found him on a wedding site. Needless to say, that relationship didn’t work out. When Julie sent him his mugshot, he admitted he was just trying to live a normal life before going to court.
That’s when Julie realized online daters needed a more sophisticated method of protecting themselves from fraud, so she created Aste — a company that verifies the people singles meet online are legitimate and aren’t keeping big secrets.
Many people joke about web stalking a date to gather information before a meetup, but Julie’s experience and the rampant catfishing and fraud online show that it’s something we should take seriously. Julie said most background check sites give incorrect or outdated information — if they can find any at all. However, Aste’s personalized method offers a better approach.
Users submit information on a potential date, and Aste delivers all the data that can be found online. You get information on major arrests, sex offender status, and social profiles. The best part is this is not some click-bait scam; real people do the investigation for you to suss out any red flags before you catch a case of the feels.
Julie compares the service to a friend who wants to help keep you safe. “It’s like going to your best friend who’s really good at creeping on people online and asking her to check a guy out,” she said. “Your friend’s going to do everything she can to make sure the guy is legitimate or see if he has three Facebook accounts under different aliases.”
Unlike other sites that only provide mugshots or arrest information, Aste’s team is able to identify the more subtle data that can’t be discovered by a web crawling program. The team uses human instinct and insight to catch dodgy and suspicious information.
Algorithms aren’t perfect, and humans often need to get their hands dirty to get a job done. That’s why Aste employs a human-powered vetting process. Rather than pull information from data-dumps and give users too much information, Aste confirms your potential date’s city, age, and phone number and supplies profiles on different social media sites.
The report also checks sex offender status and significant arrests. Julie told us her team doesn’t use court-runners to get information but instead relies on a carefully crafted approach.
“We use publicly available information that’s hard to find,” she said. “Most people aren’t able to locate this data on their own. And, if they do, it can be a very time-consuming process.”
Aste knows how and where to look to find relevant public information, so you can focus on your life instead of agonizing for hours and hours over Google searches that don’t bear fruit.
The team that brings consumers this information is made up of people from all over the US. Julie designed a very difficult, rigid intuition test Aste investigators must pass before coming onboard.
She told us each team member has been touched deeply in some way by online dating scams — either personally or by the experience of a close friend or family member. And this powers their commitment to do everything they can to safeguard Aste users. Aste’s investigators know how painful the aftermath of an online scam can be, and they work tirelessly to prevent it from happening to others.
Dating is hard enough without having to play CIA profiler. That’s why so many people have turned to Aste to help ensure the connections they are making online are real. And it isn’t just daters.
“Sometimes it’s moms who don’t like who their daughters are dating,” Julie said. “Sometimes guys will run a check on themselves just to see what’s out there about them. We are also looking for the financial scammers out there.”
She added that she’s received numerous success stories, but one of her favorites is that of a returning client who had previously been hurt by an online scammer.
“One of my clients who hadn’t dated in a long time sent me news that she’d finally met a possible match,” Julie said. “They had been on six dates, and she was feeling really good about it. But, because of her past experience, she found it hard to give him her trust.”
The Aste team quickly got to work and, within a day, was able to confirm that the man was, in fact, who he said he was.
“It gave her the confidence to move forward with him,” Julie said. “It’s rewarding for us to know we’re able to help people this way.”
Looking at examples like this, it’s easy to see how people lose faith in online dating. But services like Aste’s are bringing it back. Julie and her team are giving clients peace of mind that they can open their hearts in their search for love.
Julie said she is very grateful her business is helping so many people. Giving singles back some power in their dating decisions is a tremendous gift and one she takes very seriously.
“This is real human work; it’s not like we are pressing a button,” she said. “There are no shortcuts to this because that’s when you start missing stuff, and that’s when care goes out the window.”
Aste’s human touch is what makes all the difference in protecting online daters from the bank robbers of the world. The company’s investigators act as a friend, listening to their intuition and chasing every lead to ensure their clients are safe. Aste aims to deliver the details quickly, with care and insight, before you move forward with your date.
“It’s amazing,” Julie said. “At the end of the day, getting emails back from clients saying how much it means to them is totally worth all the work.”
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