By Tom Gliatto Lesley Messer
February 11, 2013 12:00 PM


Manti Te’o helps turn MTV’s documentary series about online relationships into—no hoax!—a big hit

On their new MTV show Catfish, Nev Schulman and Max Joseph help people in online relationships discover if they’re being duped. (Spoiler: Usually they are. See below.) After the Manti Te’o hoax, ratings soared to 2.8 million viewers, and “catfish” became part of the national lexicon. Schulman, 28, whose own fake digital romance was featured in the 2010 film that inspired the series, says anyone can be a victim. “Don’t take everything at face value,” he says. Adds Joseph, 31: “Ask to Skype, do a Google search. Make someone earn your trust.”


Emery, a transgender male, lied to his online girlfriend Kya about his identity and name (Alyx), but she duped him too. At first they salvaged the relationship, but the two split after filming ended. Now the California audio student, 21, is dating a girl he met on Tumblr. He wasn’t fooled this time: “We Skype!”


Since discovering her online boyfriend wasn’t who he claimed to be, the Maryland actress and model, 24, has found a new beau (whom she met in person!) and discovered that being on TV has its perks: “I got pulled over and the police let me pass. That was great.”


After being bullied, the Alabamian, 20, created a fake profile of a male model for revenge and later used it to “have relationships with girls.” After one confronted her, “I came out [as a lesbian] to her and everyone, and now I’m just me.” She wants to inspire others to be themselves: “It feels so great.”