The new MTV television phenom show, “Catfish”, and the recent Manti Te’o Notre Dame football scandal involving a player’s supposed online relationship, have left us begging the question: what are the legal ramifications for ‘catfish’ing someone [creating a fake profile]?

If you have not seen the television show “Catfish”, it features individuals who believe themselves to be in online romantic relationships.

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In this case, users can review public information made available by local government offices or conduct full criminal background checks with services like to find out if their date can be trusted.

Some online dating platforms like e Harmony.com, and Sparks Networks (operator of JDate and Christian Mingle) have even begun scanning clients for instances of sexual assault, identity theft, and violence since 2012.

A recent study by Pew Research Center in Washington found that 30 percent of online daters search for information about their possible dates before meeting them.

This figure rises to 41 percent among 18- to 29-year olds.

This page is a resource that shares links to states that have laws about online dating safety.

Since internet or online dating is still relatively new, having only been around and mainstream for just over 10 years the laws are just starting to catch up to the business of online dating.

“Catfish” tells the story of how the person fell in love and assists them in meeting the real person they fell in love with online.

Unfortunately, when the digital love interest shows up – surprise surprise – it is never the person it is expected to be.

This page was assembled as a consumer resource to see which sites have laws relating to safety while using online dating sites.