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.
Sunday, May 19 2013 10:35 PM EDT2013-05-20 02:35:37 GMT
Authorities have recovered the body of a 10-year-old boy who apparently drowned after an all-terrain vehicle overturned in a Mississippi creek. The search for the boy's younger brother continued Sunday. ColumbusMore >>
Authorities have recovered the body of a 6-year-old boy who apparently drowned after an all-terrain vehicle overturned in a Mississippi creek. The search for the boy's older brother continued Sunday.More >>
Monday, May 20 2013 11:17 AM EDT2013-05-20 15:17:56 GMT
A body discovered in Clinton Saturday night has led to a homicide investigation. Hinds County Coroner Sharon Grisham Stewart confirms a body was discovered, although few other details are known. The bodyMore >>
Clinton Police Department's Interim Chief Mike Warren said upon further investigation, it appears a disagreement over a woman may have led to the death of a Jackson man.
Sunday, May 19 2013 10:53 PM EDT2013-05-20 02:53:15 GMT
JPD searched a Jackson Home at 846 Brandon Ave., Saturday that netted four arrests, a variety of drugs and $1,500. "On May 18, 2013, The Jackson Police Department's Vice and Narcotics Unit responded toMore >>
JPD searched a Jackson Home at 846 Brandon Ave., Saturday that netted four arrests, a variety of drugs and $1,500.More >>
Friday, May 17 2013 7:16 PM EDT2013-05-17 23:16:53 GMT
One person has died in a crash near Harrisonville, MO, Thursday evening. The crash happened on Missouri Highway 7 and Walker Road. It involved a car and a tractor-trailer. Harrisonville is in Cass County.More >>
Savannah Nash celebrated her 16th birthday last week. She died Thursday when her car slammed into a semi while she was texting during her first time driving by herself.More >>
Saturday, May 18 2013 10:00 PM EDT2013-05-19 02:00:02 GMT
Observers are predicting a speedy confirmation to the federal bench for Jackson attorney Debra M. Brown. If confirmed, Brown would become the state's first black female district judge. Carl Tobias, aMore >>
Observers are predicting a speedy confirmation to the federal bench for Jackson attorney Debra M. Brown.More >>
With a bullet still in his body, the police officer who survived a showdown with the Boston Marathon bombing suspects says he's determined to return to duty.More >>
In a story May 19 about a Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority officer shot in a showdown with the Boston Marathon bombing suspects, The Associated Press incorrectly spelled the officer's last name. He is Officer...More >>
Wednesday, July 11 2012 6:10 AM EDT2012-07-11 10:10:08 GMT
(WMC-TV) – Dozens of police recruits were injured during training exercises last week and the heat could be to blame. The entire current class at the police academy filed paperwork claiming to be injuredMore >>
Dozens of police recruits were injured during training exercises last week and the heat could be to blame.More >>
It's all about the odds, and one lone ticket in Florida has beaten them all by matching each of the numbers drawn for the highest Powerball jackpot in history at an estimated $590.5 million, lottery officials...More >>
Some lucky person walked into a Publix supermarket in suburban Florida over the past few days and bought a ticket now worth an estimated $590.5 million - the highest Powerball jackpot in history.More >>
WLBT 3 - Fox 40
715 South Jefferson Street
Jackson, Mississippi 39201