(January 31, 2013) February 2013 represents the third annual Online Dating Safety Awareness month, which educates singles and online daters about safety online. During the month, Online Dating Magazine encourages online dating Websites to put an additional focus on online dating safety articles and information.
Online Dating Safety Awareness Month was launched in 2011 by Online Dating Magazine. Each year, the free online publication focuses on a specific safety area, while also covering other general safety topics. Last year, the focus of Online Dating Safety Awareness Month was Romance Scams.
This year the main focus of Online Dating Safety Awareness Month is Catfishing, a term made popular by the recent Manti Te’o scandal, where the Notre Dame football star fell for someone online who pretended to be someone they were not. Unlike Romance Scams, the purpose of Catfishing isn’t necessarily to get money from a victim. Online Dating Magazine defines Catfishing as, “Creating a fake online persona with the goal of purposely deceiving others into falling in love with that persona.” Catfishing isn’t always done for monetary gain. Many times people do it for “the fun of it,” personal gratification, or because they want to “relive” younger years. When Catfishing is taken to the level of asking for money, it turns into a romance scam.
In 2010, an amateur documentary called Catfish was released that followed a man’s quest to find love online. The man fell in love with a woman online, only to discover, in dramatic fashion, that the woman wasn’t exactly who she was professing to be online. The term Catfish stuck.
CNN Catfish Interview
The Catfish documentary was so intriguing to MTV, that they invested in the filmmakers for a TV series called Catfish, which launched season 1 in 2012. The series has gained in popularity since the Manti Te’o Catfish scam emerged last month.
A Look at MTV’s Catfish
Throughout February, Online Dating Magazine will further explore the Catfish concept, while providing tips on avoiding the “Catfish Trap”. In addition, the magazine will feature other online dating safety tips for singles and online daters.