Protect yourself from online identity scam

After Noterdame football star Manti Te TMo found himself at the center of an internet relationship hoax many may wonder how they can prevent being a victim themselves.

Many of us have online friends we have never met face to face, but before you take a relationship to the next level, experts are warning about the importance of taking the time to make sure you really know your friend.

Associate Dean at UTPA Jerald Hughes teaches students how they can be secure online both in business and at home.

When it comes to protecting personal information Hughes says have at least two emails, one for personal use, and one to use to register on websites like Facebook or Twitter.

"It will save you lots of time. My very first email has never gotten out so I get no spam on it and the generic gets 40 or 50 a day," Hughes said.

Meeting someone online is not a problem; it TMs having a relationship with someone before with no interaction but the written word.

"If you met someone in a dating service or on Facebook , if you think it's time to take it to the next step use a rich media channel, live video, live telephone and eventually live in person, Hughes said.

If you are skeptical someone may not be who they say they are, you can easily track their IP address, Hughes says to just google ~geolocation TM to learn how.

Find out where that message came from and see if the internet agrees that it's the same place the person said, Hughes said.

It's good to network and build contacts online, but remember if you have no mutual friends offline, take precaution.

"If that channel came not from an existing friend, that's when you need to raise the bar a little bit," Hughes said.

Remember there is a lot you still don't know until you have explored other channels of communication like live voice, video and of course face to face.