Don’t get catfished

Manti Te’o, the promising football player from Notre Dame, was the apparent victim of a “Catfishing” hoax. A young man who was recently interviewed on The Dr. Phil Show claimed to have perpetrated the hoax. His reason, he told Dr. Phil, was that he was in love with Manti Te’o.
 
The expression, “catfishing,” comes from the 2010 documentary film by Nev Schulman called Catfish. It chronicled his own experience being deceived by an online relationship with a woman named “Megan.” She approached Schulman on the web, they began “chat,” and she sent him a painting. She tells him she is a young artist and even provides pictures showing her to be a pretty, blonde. When Schulman and his friends decide to visit Megan they discover she does not exist. She is the creation of a middle-aged woman with many problems who targets people for fantasy relationships.
 
According to Dr. Phil and other experts “catfishing” and other types of relationship fraud is on the rise. Catfish is now a popular MTV show starring Schulman. Often victims are emotionally devastated or even defrauded of large sums of money.
 
Learn to protect yourself from relationship fraud with these tips from Experian’s ProtectMyID identity theft detection, protection and fraud resolution experts.
Stay mysterious at first. Don’t disclose personally identifiable information with a prospective dating match until there is an established level of familiarity and trust. This includes your hometown, home addresses, work specifics, phone numbers, educational background and information about children via profiles and through photo identification.
 
Limit profile detail. Avoid posting personally identifiable information on your online dating profiles, including but not limited to hometown, home addresses, work specifics, phone numbers, educational background and information about children via profiles and through photo identification.
 
Play detective. Don’t assume that a prospective dating match will always be truthful. Ask a person to tell you about himself or herself; you then can conduct a little background work on sites like LinkedIn, Facebook or Google to see if conflicting information exists. Also, be wary of any requests for financial loans or assistance of any kind.
 
Create the perfect password. For online dating profiles, do not use passwords that incorporate publicly known information.
 
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