As technology grows, so do the options for those looking for love; options which include the internet. But with those choices come new risks that you need to know about.
National attention has turned in the last 24 hours to a tragic love story turned bizarre hoax out of Notre Dame. The school's star linebacker, Mantai Te'o says he was the victim of an internet plot and people here in western Colorado say they're no stranger to this either.
Its called catfishing, the act of a person pretending to be someone they're not when dating online. It’s become more well known following a documentary and TV show on MTV, and now with a star football player who met a girl online.
"I (saw) the most beautiful girl I’ve ever met. Not because of her physical beauty but the beauty of her character" said T’eo.
But that girl turned out to be fake and while many questions still remain, it appears the relationship was an elaborate plot to trick him. It seems to be a growing trend that people are turning to the internet for dating but that always poses risks.
"People, they sort of enjoy the anonymity that the internet and the computers provide but what they forget it that other people may use that to be deceptive" explained Heather Benjamin, Public Information Officer for the Mesa County Sheriff’s Office.
We spoke with a local woman dealing with some of that deception. As a single mom, she says she didn't have time for the traditional dating scene so she tried online dating. She has met some nice guys but she had to get through the ones just looking for sex. The woman, who asked to remain anonymous, explained what her experience has been like.
"The thing I noticed right off hand is there are a lot of creeps. A lot of guys just constantly (saying) 'Hey baby, you're so sexy'. Another thing I heard a lot of is 'I bet you get this all the time but your body looks amazing'. And those are always red flags to me when I hear that" she says.
A mental health expert we spoke with says we shouldn't be surprised by people lying online. Since our culture teaches us what people should and shouldn't like, most people tell lies on a daily basis especially during the dating scene.
"We're taught what women want or we're told what women want or what men want. And so it makes sense that people might want to inflate or stretch the truth a little bit to make themselves more appealing" explained Transpersonal Psychology masters candidate Angelina Salazar.
If you do meet someone who you've interacted with online, authorities remind you to let a friend know where you're going and if you do meet someone, always make sure to do it in a public area.