Posted January 17, 2013 --- 5:45 p.m.
It's been a hot topic since the Manti Te'o story broke. It's caused some to re-examine their behavior on the web and reaffirmed what others already thought about the online world.
But the question remains how could a very popular public figure like Notre Dame football player Manti Te'o fall victim to a growing online scam known as catfishing?
The term catfish was made popular by a recent documentary and television show on MTV by the same name.
According to Steve Noll, a Marketing Instructor and social media expert with Madison College, catfishing occurs when someone creates a fake account or profile online with the intent of starting a romantic relationship.
It's not really illegal and you can argue if it's moral.
Noll says, " It's one of those Grey areas. The interesting thing about the rise of social media and the changes and all that is the technology has changed faster than the laws. "
For the scammer Noll says the relationship may help fill a void in their life. But for the victim the online romance can be very real and in some cases even more intense than a more traditional relationship.
To avoid being catfished Noll says a little paranoia can go a long way.
" A little paranoia can save you a lot of heartache and money loss later down the line."
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