"Catfishing" a Real Phenomenon Online - New York News

"Catfishing" a Real Phenomenon Online

Posted: Updated:
The Deadspin.com story that broke the hoax involving a Notre Dame football student. The Deadspin.com story that broke the hoax involving a Notre Dame football student.

A bizarre soap opera involving an All-American linebacker from Notre Dame, and his supposed girlfriend, is a lesson for anyone hoping to meet their true love online.

Manti Te'o says he was duped into believing a woman he met on the Internet, a women he called his girlfriend, had died of cancer. He says it was all a cruel joke. If true, Te'o wouldn't be the only victim of a strange phenomenon called "catfishing."

A catfish is a person who pretends to be someone else on social media, to try to pull you into a romantic relationship online. Manti Te'o says that's what happened to him, and experts say he's not alone.

Manti Te'o's "girlfriend" looked young, pretty and fun. She called herself "Lennay" and tweeted her affection, until she died from Leukemia in September. But the woman shown on Lennay's twitter page is not named Lennay. And she's still very much alive. Someone "borrowed" her photo, and Te'o insisted he fell for it.

"Sometimes we can be so desiring and longing to be in a relationship that we miss the major signs that are like neon flashing lights," Dr. Argie Allen, a relationship therapist and the director of Clinical Training at Drexel University, explained. Te'o says he was heartbroken when she died during his senior year at Notre Dame, and that loss spurred him to excel on the football field. Wednesday, the website Deadspin revealed it was all a hoax. "It does happen, and it happens more than we know," Dr. Allen insisted.

Another man who said he was the victim of an online hoax made a movie about it called "Catfish," which then turned into a series on MTV. That's how the phenomenon got its name. In this digital age, experts say too many people may be too willing to believe the fairytale. "If you're going to develop a relationship with someone, you actually want to see who they are, and not just in a picture," Dr. Allen said.

Even after a year-long relationship, Te'o says he never actually met Lennay, even though he told some reporters he had. If he's lying? "Often times it's to seek attention, and this guy's clearly got attention, he's really a star athlete, but he may even want more attention," Dr. Allen told Fox 29. And he certainly got it.

So how do you avoid getting catfished? You need to meet in person, sooner rather than later. And you should insist on meeting their friends and family. That's going to help tell you who they really are-- and confirm that they really exist.

  • Local NewsMore>>

  • PECO Investigating Gas Odor in Phila Region

    PECO Investigating Gas Odor in Phila Region

    Saturday, August 30 2014 4:27 PM EDT2014-08-30 20:27:57 GMT
    A spokesperson for PECO confirms to Fox 29 News that crews are trying to find the source of a gas odor that has resulted in hundreds of calls to PECO on Saturday.About 400 calls have been placedto PECO as of 4pm Saturday; that is an elevated number of calls than a normal day, the spokesperson says. Crews that are trained in gas odor response are spread throughout the area to try to pinpoint the source of the odor. Reports of gas odors have been made by customers in Delaware, Montgomery, Chest...
    A spokesperson for PECO confirms to Fox 29 News that crews are trying to find the source of a gas odor that has resulted in hundreds of calls to PECO on Saturday.About 400 calls have been placedto PECO as of 4pm Saturday; that is an elevated number of calls than a normal day, the spokesperson says. Crews that are trained in gas odor response are spread throughout the area to try to pinpoint the source of the odor. Reports of gas odors have been made by customers in Delaware, Montgomery, Chest...
  • Summer Heat Returns

    Saturday, August 30 2014 4:11 PM EDT2014-08-30 20:11:25 GMT

    The rest of the holiday weekend continues to look warmer and unsettled. Shower and thunderstorm chances increase late Sunday and Labor Day.

    The heat and humidity will continue to expand Sunday into Labor Day. There is a risk of scattered showers and thunderstorms both day.  Best chance will be in the afternoon and evening. 

    Sunday (88/69): Clouds/Storm

    Monday (90/71): Clouds/Storm

    Tuesday (92/72): Clouds/Storm

     

     

  • Social Media Working To Save Pets Abandoned In A Local Home

    Social Media Working To Save Pets Abandoned In A Local Home

    Friday, August 29 2014 11:10 PM EDT2014-08-30 03:10:39 GMT
    Concern is growing for the health and safety of some pets left alone on these hot summer days.
    Concern is growing for the health and safety of some pets left alone on these hot summer days.
  • Local NewsLocal NewsMore>>

  • Friday Night Live: August 29, 2014

    Friday Night Live: August 29, 2014

    Friday, August 29 2014 11:14 PM EDT2014-08-30 03:14:33 GMT

    This is Fox 5's Friday Night Live, a weekly celebration of the end of the work week. All summer long, the Fox 5 team brings you the latest in entertainment, nightlife, food, and music in our area. In this jam-packed episode: Electric Zoo Festival, Beth Shak, Richard Albrecht, Kathy Wakile, and Moses Laboy .

    This is Fox 5's Friday Night Live, a weekly celebration of the end of the work week. All summer long, the Fox 5 team brings you the latest in entertainment, nightlife, food, and music in our area. In this jam-packed episode: Electric Zoo Festival, Beth Shak, Richard Albrecht, Kathy Wakile, and Moses Laboy .


  • Cocktails with Moses Laboy

    Cocktails with Moses Laboy

    Friday, August 29 2014 10:49 PM EDT2014-08-30 02:49:46 GMT
    Mixologist Moses Laboy came to Friday Night Live to mix up some cocktails to get us started on the holiday weekend. Born and raised in Spanish Harlem, Laboy has mixed drinks at Red Rooster, Los Americanos, Le Colonial NYC, and elsewhere. He has served drinks to President Obama and President Clinton.
    Mixologist Moses Laboy came to Friday Night Live to mix up some cocktails to get us started on the holiday weekend. Born and raised in Spanish Harlem, Laboy has mixed drinks at Red Rooster, Los Americanos, Le Colonial NYC, and elsewhere. He has served drinks to President Obama and President Clinton.
  • Business is good at Coney Island

    Business is good at Coney Island

    Friday, August 29 2014 10:22 PM EDT2014-08-30 02:22:32 GMT
    From the brand-new Thunderbolt roller coaster to the world-famous boardwalk, tourists and business owners alike say Coney Island had a great ride of its own this summer. Toms Coney Island's general manager Vasilios Tourlokas says the mild summer impacted his boardwalk business in the best way possible: a 10 to 15 percent increase.
    From the brand-new Thunderbolt roller coaster to the world-famous boardwalk, tourists and business owners alike say Coney Island had a great ride of its own this summer. Toms Coney Island's general manager Vasilios Tourlokas says the mild summer impacted his boardwalk business in the best way possible: a 10 to 15 percent increase.
Powered by WorldNow
Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | New Terms of Service What's new | Ad Choices