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Online Dating and "Catfishing", a Growing Trend
Millions of people right now are logged on to dating sites trying to find love.
Experts warn online daters to not be fooled by a picture or comment, do your research, or you could end up with more than a broken heart.
Online experts say incidents of people creating fake social media and dating profiles for a variety of reasons (including tricking someone into a cyber-relationship, stealing your personal info or even black mailing you) is on the rise. This is known online as “catfishing”.
The traditional meet and greet has taken a back seat as millions have invaded dating and social networking websites that target people across the board. These sites can be very specific in appealing to visitors, with some geared towards older generations, divorcees and even religious dating sites .
Michele Franceschetti has been single for a year and has not ventured into the world of online dating.
"Everybody has been trying to get me on some kind of website. ‘You should go on this website, you should do this.’ I’d rather have a conversation with somebody and look in their eyes and see if there something there other than sitting at a computer by myself to see if I can find someone I can connect with,” said Franceschetti.
KEYE TV spoke to several “daters” who proved that even amongst the popularity of online dating, some still say the traditional approach is the way to go.
"I really believe in meeting someone through a friend. That way you at least know a little about them, and you’re not just shooting a dart in the dark. I’ve met a couple of people that have found someone and they swore by it. But for me, it’s just not the way I want to go,” said Annie Kasinecz.
For Claudia Gonzales, online dating was the only way to go, since she is a single parent with a full time job.
After a month of chatting online with a man, Gonzales says she finally met him - and they’ve been together now for more than 10 years.
Experts say if you choose to date online, you should do more than talk on the phone to get to know someone.
They say you should do at least thirty minutes of research on anyone you meet online by doing a simple Google search with the person's name in quotation marks, and don’t be afraid to ask tough questions.
We did some digging into the legal consequences of what would be considered "catfishing,” and it is illegal in Texas.
Local district attorneys have the authority to prosecute online impersonators.