California app helps users verify identities

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) -- What if you could make sure the people you interact with every day are who they say they are? 

A new app that recently launched in California claims to keep its users safer by making sure the people they come into contact with are legitimate.

Legitifi is a social media verification app that uses social media profiles to verify a person's identity. 

“[It links] all of their social media profiles together and creates one master identity,” creator Justin Parnell said. 

Since Legitifi links Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn and more, it's almost impossible for someone to fake who they are. 

Parnell says he came up with the idea after someone catfished him on a dating app. 

"People have been murdered by their Tinder dates and it’s just like, if I could stop that from happening one time then that would be amazing,” Parnell said. 

He then took security one step further, by running all users against the National Sex Offender Database. Every sex offender is searchable, and includes pictures and aliases. 

“There’s nothing stopping a sex offender from creating a Facebook and then being on Tinder,” he said. “It would be really awesome if I could provide a tool for people to really make the world a little more transparent, a little more honest.”

The owner of Pirate Snowballs in Pacific Beach uses the app when he hires summer help. 

"Here on the PB boardwalk we sell New Orleans style shaved ice,” Marcel Pineda said. “The style I bring it from New Orleans. The machine is all from New Orleans.” 

Pineda says it's important for him to know exactly who is working for him since so many children come to his snow cone stand. He used Legitifi to hire Catie Simmermacher for the summer. 

"[It was] Very easy. I mean, three minutes?” he said. “This person is legit. She’s been doing a great job all summer. I’m happy with the results.”

Parnell says the app is free, and users can search for people by their name, phone number, and e-mail. Friends and family can also vouch for you through the app so people know you are who you claim to be. 

“If you buy something off Craigslist and you want to make sure before you go pick it up the guy you’re going to meet isn’t like, you know, a sex offender or is actually who they claim to be,” Parnell said. “[You can also use it for] Getting babysitters and dog walkers and caregivers for your parents.” 

Pineda said he also used Legitifi to buy tickets for a sports game to make sure the person he was buying them from was who they said they were and he wasn’t going to get scammed.

For every person that downloads the app, Legitifi donates to charity. The company is planning to have ambassadors at UCSD and SDSU this fall to introduce college students to the app to encourage safety. 

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