Updated: Friday, 18 Jan 2013, 10:49 AM EST
Published : Thursday, 17 Jan 2013, 10:29 PM EST
INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) - Wednesday night, Notre Dame’s athletic director said he believes Manti Te’o is innocent — a victim, he said, of what’s come to be known as “catfishing.”
24-Hour News 8 looked into the term and found out – it’s happening across the country.
The term comes from the 2010 documentary, all about false identities starting online. "Catfish" is someone who pretends to be someone they're not, using Facebook or other social media to create false identities.
Lt. Charles Cohen investigates cyber crime with Indiana State Police.
He didn't comment on the situation at Notre Dame, but explained the dangers that can lurk on the internet.
“People have been portraying themselves as something other than they are, for generations,” he explained. “But with social media, it makes it much more easy for me to befriend someone, that lives in a different geographic place. It makes it much more difficult for me to determine what the truth really is in some cases.”
“It is very difficult, particularly online, to know if someone’s using a real name, to know if they’re using a real picture, or to know if story of their life is the real story of their life or someone else’s,” Lt. Cohen added.
It’s not only Facebook, Twitter, or online dating sites where people should watch for red flags.
It’s everywhere on the internet – whether it’s a career networking site, or a site like Craigslist.
Examples of red flags on the Internet:
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