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STARKVILLE, Miss. (WCBI) -Meeting the love of your life has changed over generations. Initial face to face contact has slowly been replaced with online dating. But how do you know the person your talking to is who they say they are.

“I think there’s no substitute for face to face type interaction,” said internet user, David Shrock.

“If you’re having trouble meeting someone then it’s definitely a viable alternative to the social norm of dating,” added internet user Courtney Griffin.

“I’m just not really fond of it,” said internet user Leann Alexander.

While internet dating isn’t for everyone, those looking for love online should be cautious. The word ‘catfish’ used to only be used when referring to food. In the cyber world, catfish is when a person uses social media to create a false identity to attract an online partner.

“They had talked for like a month and he went to meet her finally and she basically wasn’t what she said we was. She had actually been using her cousins picture as her profile pic,” said internet user Joseph Yarbrough.

“I think it’s like an insecurity issue. A lot of people don’t feel comfortable with who they really are and acting like someone else online gives them like an extra status symbol for them to be someone different,” said social media expert Hagan Walker.

While some are skeptical about online dating others will tell you dating websites like Eharmony and Match.com make users more comfortable about who they’re talking to.

“I think it was match.com where they met and she didn’t want to do it like that but she ended up doing it. And they really liked each other and it just started from there,” said internet user Drew Zeidwig.

For most, the world wide web of dating is scary. For those who have made true connections, logging on was worth the risk.

“My heart feel out of my body, I was very terrifed but because I paid a lot of money to just fly to her because she lives very far away but you kinda feel it when you’re talking to her on Skype so it kinda all worked out and it felt really good,” said Colten Stein that found love online.

Laura Walton, Assistant Professor in the Department of Communications at MSU says there are signs that your online partner is not being truthful.

“Anyone who is not willing to meet you in person eventually is probably a pretty good red flag that there’s something odd,” said Walton.

Walton offers this piece of advice.

“Just be very guarded about the information you give out about yourself. Don’t let yourself become to attracted to someone until you’re confident that that someone first of all exist and is who they save they are,” said Walton.

And for those pursuing online dating, experts say some dating sites offer back ground checks.

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