So, Manti Te’o’s girlfriend is a hoax.  Any advice on how to make sure online daters don’t end up in a sick game of Catfish? --Real Life

Real Life, It’s very easy to get caught up in an online relationship. Revealing intimate details about ourselves seems easier to do through a computer screen. Unfortunately there are people out there that either present themselves as something they aren’t or they are, as in the Te’o case, completely fictitious.  

So how do you protect yourself from being scammed? 

   •    Paid Sites: I’m a proponent of paid sites like vs. free sites like OK Cupid and Plenty of Fish. If daters are serious about finding a partner, my theory is they will pay to be on a quality site. Trollers looking for sex or worse will stick to the free sites. The numbers back me up on this. Only 10% of profiles on paid sites are fake. That seems high until you compare it to the  almost 90% of fraudulent profiles on free sites.

  •    Skype: It may seem odd to have your first meeting with someone over a computer screen, but many of my client’s complain of viewing great pictures of a potential date and having considerable email and text conversations only to meet in person and realize they don’t look like the pictures at all. A quick Skype conversation would eliminate wasting time building rapport with someone that isn’t exactly your type. Also, if someone is playing Catfish they won’t be able to Skype or meet in person- expect excuse after excuse. That should be a huge red flag.

•    Stalk: You have to check people out. Facebook, LinkedIn, Google, their work website…there should be some trail of this person on the Internet. No information usually means they don’t exist.

Always withhold information such as your address and financials. It’s tough to be realistic about romance and have a cautious guard about everything but it’s worse to be duped and fall for someone that isn’t real. Just ask Manti.

My boyfriend has a great deal of body hair and it’s everywhere, if you catch my drift. He does his best to keep certain areas under control but I’d love it if he were even a little more buzzed. How do I bring this up lightly? It’s not like he’s not trying at all. --Nair Cares

Dear Nair Cares, the only way to do this without hurting his feelings is to do it together.  Tell him that it would really turn you on to help him with his manscaping. Take the clippers to a #3 setting and buzz away, preferably in the shower if your man is as hairy as you say he is. 

My boyfriend recently told me he is considering applying to be a bartender at a local gay bar. My friends are raising their eyebrows. Should I be concerned? --Maggie

Maggie, I’m a little cynical of a situation where a straight man would immerse himself in gay culture (bartending at a gay bar definitely applies here) and claim to be totally straight. I’m not saying it can’t happen, but I’m saying…well, I’m saying there is a good possibility your boyfriend is bi-curious at the very least. I think you’ve probably already suspected this and are just asking me as confirmation. Consider your concerns confirmed.

Do you have a question for Angela? E-mail!

About Angela Lutin:

Angela Lutin is Essentially Angela. Blogger, Advice Columnist and Dating Guru for the social media age—decoding modern love one tweet, text, and like at a time. Angela’s weekly dating advice column, The Naked Truth, appears exclusively in Boca Raton Magazine. Her work appears regularly on the Huffington Post, and she has been a guest contributor to Shape Magazine,, Think Magazine, Blindfold Magazine, and more.  She can been seen on MTV’s Made and Bravo’s hit show, Millionaire Matchmaker in early 2013. Crafting personal dating makeovers for her clients, Angela also maintains a private practice, which turns the romantically challenged into the relationship-inclined. Follow Angela on Facebook, or Twitter, @essentiallyang.