Manti T'eo is all the talk in the sports world lately because of the dead girlfriend hoax. Sure there are a million jokes out there, but being scammed online is no laughing matter. Here are a few ways to avoid it. 

I know I've talked recently a lot about dating online and how it's a good way to meet people, but you also have to be careful. Once you "meet" online and you're really digging the person you're talking to, insist upon meeting in person sooner rather than later. I say this for two reasons: Number one, you can have tons of chemistry behind the keyboard, but it's important to know if you have chemistry in person. The other being to confirm they actually exist. If you can't meet in person, try Skype. You can still be scammed, but via Skype, it's a lot harder. If they make excuses as to why they can't meet in person or via Skype, cut them off.

If you're good at online stalking, this time, use your super powers for good. If the person you're talking to is real, they will have a virtual footprint. They probably have some sort of social media profile on Facebook, Twitter, Google +, Instagram, LinkedIn, etc. Maybe you can find their college graduation record if you know where they went to school. For advanced Internet stalking, there's a thing called reverse image search. If you have a picture of them, you can look them up using the reverse image search. If there's no record of them online, chances are you're talking to a real person with a made up life. Cut them off.

Once you find their Internet profile, really dig through it. How many photos do they have? Are they with family? Look for evidence of a spouse and children. He says he hiked the Appalachian Trail. Are there pictures? Remember, if they tell you something, "Pictures or it didn't happen." You know what a "normal" social media profile looks like, so trust your instincts. If anything seems odd, not right or you feel uncomfortable, cut them off.