Surge in online dating following the holiday season

(Valley News Live) The season of shopping and giving is ended, now it's the season for online dating? After the holidays, the $1 billion online dating industry surges. But you may want to be careful when looking for love online.

According to Marketwatch this time of year more people are looking for love online. It could be loneliness around the holidays, or a time when the masses are away from work.

Marriage therapist Heather Bjur says, "Our lives are really, kind of, secluded right now. We're on our phones and at home watching Netflix and that type of thing."

Bjur has warning for the more people dating online.

"Think about what dating is. We all put on our best face and our best behavior and we want to make ourselves look really good. And so I think that's even easier to do in the online world because we can make ourselves look like whatever we want to." Said Bjur.

And we did. It's easy and many websites are free.

We created a profile on Match.com and fibbed a little. But we wouldn't be alone. According the Pew Research Center out of the 40 million people using online dating, at least half of them are lying in some way. Many online profiles have little white lies, but some are completely fabricated or designed by scammers.

"Who are we inviting into our apartment, or into our private spaces when maybe we don't know them very well." Said Bjur.

Experts say to be cautious of giving out your personal information, even a cell phone number, be wary of people wanting to communicate on third-party sites and if you do meet up with someone online, tell a friend and pick a public place.

"It's that knowing and being known, that's what makes a relationship great. It's that best friend component." Said Bjur.

The stigma surrounding online dating is shrinking, but still most couples meet offline.

According to Pew Research, more people associate online dating as a good way to meet people and less people associate people on dating sites as desperate. Online dating has jumped most in 18-24 year olds and 45-64 year olds. Even though online dating is growing, still only 5 percent of Americans who are in a marriage or committed relationship say they met online.