(KSDK) - Some people are questioning whether Manti Te'o's story is true that he was the victim of an elaborate hoax.

If it is true, we found he's not alone. His story is eerily similar to a documentary-turned television show called Catfish.

"Catfish" is the term for creating a fake persona on line and carrying on a fake relationship. And apparently, it happens a lot.

"I thought we were in love and that we were going to be together and eventually everything was going to be all perfect just like he was saying," says "Elena."

"Elena" asked that we not use her real name. She asked to stay anonymous. She says she met the man in person after a month of talking on line, and soon after they met she was pregnant. Then, she says, the lies started piling up.

"He has lied about the location of the country he's from. He's lied about his age. He lied about his name."

And she says he lied about his mother dying.

She's not the only online dater who's been lied to.

"The whole subject of fake profiles or falling in love with someone that doesn't exist is sort of rampant," says author and online dating expert Julie Spira.

She says some people are easy targets.

"They are so in love with love and they believe there is this unconditional love, and the moment someone shows them a lot of attention, if they're lonely or if their heart has recently been broken and they become really vulnerable."

"Looking back, he was making me feel better about myself because he was saying all the things you want to're beautiful just the way you are," Elena shares.

Spira says you can protect yourself.

"My number one tip is if you're going to have a long distance pen pal with somebody and you're flirting on facebook, text, or you're on twitter or on an online dating site, get on the phone with them."

She also says to google them, make sure their facebook pictures match the ones on the site where you met. And Skype with them.

"If somebody won't hop on a Skype call, yet they're saying I love you in a text message and they don't want to hop on a Skype call or even a phone call and they're talking about having children with you they are hiding something."

And if you think someone isn't who they say they are, she says contact the dating site and let them know.

Read or Share this story: