When it comes to dating, they say there's plenty of fish in the sea. And that's a good way to look at it. But what if the fish you're trying to reel in isn't exactly what you thought it was?
Online dating has become a multi-billion dollar industry that shows no sign of stopping. It's a modern day twist on an age old quest for love, that sees people connecting just about every day.
"Generally people have difficulty initiating dating situations," said Jasmine Myers of Myers Life Coaching LLC. "Online form has provided a great tool for people to get to know each other and to build relationships. It has become a multi billion dollar industry because so many people are turning to the internet to find love."
There are plenty of online love success stories, but in some cases, those relationships aren't always what people expect. There are mountains of data on the internet and plenty of ways to create fake profiles. Unlike actual dating websites, all you need to create most social media pages is an email address, and a photo of your choosing.
"It's a way to be anonymous and maybe explore a side of yourself that you're not ready to explore in your everyday life. It opens up the opportunity to be someone that you're not," Myers said.
What can start as a playful joke, can grow into what some see as cruel and humiliating web of lies. Take Jarrod Musselwhite for example. He fell in love with a bubbly blonde named Abby, who didn't exist. All that time it was actually Melissa Henderson of Gulfport on the other side of the screen.
"I did it because I was kind of different from everybody and on the internet you can just kind of be whoever you want to be. That's kind of where I felt most comfortable, but not comfortable with the way I looked," Henderson said.
Melissa was featured on Catfish, a popular reality TV series on MTV. The show is a spin off from a documentary about Nev Shoman, a man who thought he was dating the woman of his dreams online for months, only to find out that she, too, was someone totally different.
"I never meant to hurt him and he knows that. My advice to people is, stop. I learned that no relationship can start on a lie. No matter how perfect you think it is. It's impossible," Henderson said.
Situations like this occur more than you may think. But avoiding this kind of heartbreak can be pretty easy. First, before you get too deep into a relationship with someone you met online, try to connect over video. Services like Skype or Facetime allow you to have a video chat with anyone who has a webcam at no cost.
And watch out for other warning signs.
"Be cautious of pictures that are extremely attractive. It may be too good to be true. Facebook is just categorized names, it can be anything. It's not factual. I'd also be careful of sob stories. Sometimes people will play your heart strings to try to get you to give them money or things that are illegal. Be very leery of that," Myers said.
Tuesday, June 18 2013 9:47 PM EDT2013-06-19 01:47:49 GMT
Jackson Police Chief Rebecca Coleman has turned in her resignation to Mayor Harvey Johnson and will retire from the police force in a matter of days. Chief Coleman, who has served with the Jackson PoliceMore >>
Jackson Police Chief Rebecca Coleman has turned in her resignation to Mayor Harvey Johnson and will retire from the police force in a matter of days.More >>
Tuesday, June 18 2013 7:31 PM EDT2013-06-18 23:31:40 GMT
Ridgeland police officers and Madison County sheriff's deputies have surrounded a house on Bryceland Drive in Ridgeland. Lt. John Neil with the Ridgeland Police Department says a resident called policeMore >>
Ridgeland Chief of Police Jimmy Houston said the standoff in Ridgeland is resolved.More >>
Tuesday, June 18 2013 5:00 PM EDT2013-06-18 21:00:46 GMT
There is no such thing as sacred ground for some thieves. Two men rob at least four people at a Jackson church. Officer Colendula Green tells us around 6:22 Monday evening the group was standing outsideMore >>
There is no such thing as sacred ground for some thieves. Two men robbed at least four people at a Jackson church Monday night.More >>
Monday, June 17 2013 9:37 PM EDT2013-06-18 01:37:58 GMT
An accident that occurred around 3 p.m. Saturday on I-20 W. resulted in at least one fatality. The accident happened between Bovina and Flowers. A bystander told WLBT/WDBD the multi-vehicle accidentMore >>
A second person has died from a multiple-vehicle crash on Interstate 20 in Warren County Saturday.More >>
Tuesday, June 18 2013 1:11 AM EDT2013-06-18 05:11:50 GMT
A two-vehicle accident at the Highway 18 and Springridge Road intersection Saturday, resulted in at least one death. A one-and-a-half year-old died in the accident, according to Hinds County Coroner SharonMore >>
A two-vehicle accident at the Highway 18 and Springridge Road intersection Saturday evening resulted in the death of a toddler. Officials have made an arrest in the death.More >>
Monday, June 17 2013 3:26 PM EDT2013-06-17 19:26:53 GMT
Jackson police are investigating what they believe to be a murder-suicide in south Jackson Monday morning. Few details are being released at this time, but Officer Colendula Green confirms one maleMore >>
Jackson police are investigating what they believe to be a murder-suicide in south Jackson and have identified both victims. More >>
Tuesday, June 18 2013 9:23 AM EDT2013-06-18 13:23:30 GMT
A 5-year-old girl set up a lemonade stand across the street from the Westboro Baptist Church compound, and now the group is targeting her. Jayden Sink raised nearly $200 on Friday while she sold lemonadeMore >>
A 5-year-old girl set up a lemonade stand across the street from the Westboro Baptist Church compound, and now the group is targeting her.More >>
Monday, June 17 2013 9:59 PM EDT2013-06-18 01:59:19 GMT
LYNCHBURG, VA (RNN) – Kimberly Burke is used to capturing emotion. As a wedding photographer, she has an eye for tender moments, like the photo she snapped of a Marine and his bride praying that has goneMore >>
A quiet moment captured before a couple wed has brought collective "awws" by millions on the internet.More >>
Tuesday, June 18 2013 8:49 AM EDT2013-06-18 12:49:53 GMT
Simpson County Sheriff's deputies are looking for two inmates who walked off a work detail crew early Monday morning. According to Simpson County Sheriff Kenneth Lewis, Simpson County Adult Detention CenterMore >>
Two Simpson County inmates who walked off a work detail site Monday morning have been recaptured.More >>
WLBT 3 - Fox 40
715 South Jefferson Street
Jackson, Mississippi 39201