What is Catfishing? Manti Te'o's Dead Girlfriend Hoax Exposes Online Scam

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Jan 17, 2013 02:20 PM EST
Notre Dame Fighting Irish linebacker Manti Te'o
Notre Dame Fighting Irish linebacker Manti Te'o (5) follows the play against the Wake Forest Demon Deacons during the second half of their NCAA college football game at Notre Dame Stadium in South Bend, Indiana November 17."

In the wake of Manti Te'o's girlfriend hoax, Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swabrick cited catfishing online as being the cause of the latest scandal.

But what is catfishing?

Catfishing is a term that gets its origin from the 2010 film of the same name, "Catfish." The film was a documentary that followed 24-year-old Yaniv "Nev" Schulam and 19-year-old Megan Faccio, who had a relationship that was based entirely online and over the phone.

In the film Schulam would converse with various members of Faccio's family, but similar to Te'o's situation, the family never existed.

Faccio never existed.

It turned out that Faccio was in fact Angela Wesselman, was a troubled housewife who spent the bulk of her days caring for two severely handicapped stepsons and building an elaborate web of online deception until it all spun out of control.

Wesselman had taken photos of another woman, Aimee Gonzales, and used them to build an online persona for Megan Faccio.

After the movie, Schulman went on to develop a series on MTV called "Catfish: The TV Show," which tries to expose real-life anglers.

So the term "catfishing" essentially became a term to describe the faking of the identity of a person online in the process of carrying out a relationship.

Allegedly Te'o was completely misguided by his love for a woman he met online but never in person.

Te'o has either fallen victim or is the fabricator of a catfish-like relationship with Lennay Kekua, who in fact does not exist. Schulman weighed in and showed support on the Te'o controversy through his twitter account.

Related Articles:

Will Manti Te'o's Dead Girlfriend Hoax Impact His 2013 NFL Draft Stock? (Reader's Poll)

Manti Te'o's Dead Girlfriend Lennay Kekua was Fictitious (PHOTO)

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