How to Find Out if Someone is Using Your Pictures to Catfish
Catfishing is a recent phenomenon where online predators pretend to be someone else in order to trick people into emotional or financial relationships. These catfishers will often set up sock puppet social networking profiles. These are fake profiles or identities designed to attract people and make them more open to starting a chat. They steal photos from other people’s profiles and use them as their own. People who create these fake identities could be taking your photos and pretend to be you. So how can you find out if someone is using your pictures to catfish? This oneHOWTO article will equip you with some methods to identify if someone is using your pictures to catfish and if they are, what you can do about it.
What is catfishing?
As we stated in the intro, catfishing occurs when a person takes on the identity of somebody else online. There are different reasons someone may do this. It could be that they want to extort money or something else valuable by pretending to be someone they are not. They may want to get revenge on the person they are catfishing or even try to find some information about them.
It is also possible people catfish because they are lonely or simply want to connect with somebody, but want to take on another personality for some reason. This could be due to self-worth issues or simply wanting to engage in a fantasy life.
Since we live so much of our lives online, we post a lot of information and pictures about ourselves. If we don't protect our security on sites like Facebook, we leave this information vulnerable. Since social networking sites are designed to be collections of personal data, pictures and video, catfishing can be easily carried out.
In extreme cases, catfishing may result in a meeting which leads to violence or some other criminal activity. Even when this does not happen, the personal turmoil, confusion and emotional suffering caused by catfishing can destroy lives. This usually happens when the person finds out they were being catfished. However, if the catfisher is purposefully trying to harm them, they may be doing it before they are found out.
Although you may not have been catfished yourself, it is still a serious situation when your identity is being used for catfishing. When you see your pictures and other information being used without your permission it can be a very scary situation. This form of identity fraud can also have legal ramifications. For this reason, it is understandable you will want to know how to find out if someone is using your pictures to catfish.
Perform a reverse image search
One of the easiest ways to find out if someone is using your pictures is to do a reverse image search of any of your photos that you have used on your profile that can be openly viewed by anyone on the Internet. This search can be used for any photo you have uploaded and will show you a list of other sites where your photo appears. By doing this, you can find out if someone is using your pictures without your consent.
Here is how you do a google reverse image search:
1. Select the image location (URL) by using the following methods, depending on your computer and browser
- For mac using Firefox: Find the image on your profile, blog or website, right click and select Search image in Google.
- For mac using Safari: Find the image on your Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr or any other site, right click and select Copy Image Address.
- For PC using Internet Explorer: Right click on the picture, select Properties, highlight the image URL and copy by clicking CTRL-C.
2. Search the image in Google by pasting the URL into the search bar. On the results page,click on Search By Image.
3. The top results will show visually similar images. They may look like your pictures but they aren't actually yours. Continue scrolling down and the results will all be your image that you searched. You can now see all the places where you photo is posted without your permission.
Search for your picture in Google
Another method to finding out if someone is using your picture to catfish, is to head straight to the Google Images homepage. When there, select the camera icon in the search bar. You can upload the picture you want to check is being used and Google will display a list of results with every instance in which that image appears.
Use a third party app
There are also third part apps which you can use to try to perform a better reverse image search than using Google alone. These apps are designed with this specific purpose and may have some more features to custpomize your search. They are not only used to see if someone is using your picture to catfish, but it can be a handy tool for this purpose. Some of the most popular apps to help find catfishing photos are:
One of the benefits of these apps is that they are easier to perform on the go. If you are trying to find if your pictures are used for catfishing quickly, you can download the app, upload your photo from your camera roll and perform the search instantly. This is not always as easy to do on a desktop, especially if you keep most of your images on a mobile device such as an iPhone or Android phone.
If you have deleted a photo you want to search for a potential catfish, you can check our article on how to recover deleted photos from iPhone and Android phones.
Report your stolen pictures on Facebook
If you have found a profile on Facebook or Instagram that seems like a catfish and has taken your photos and is using them to pretend to be you or create a false identify, you should report that profile.
Here is how to report a profile to Facebook:
1. Go to the profile that you want to report.
2. On the cover photo click the [...] link.
3. Choose report to report the account to Facebook.
4. When making the report, be sure to explain the reason why you're reporting - that the person is using your pictures to Catfish or impersonate you.
What to do if you think you are being catfished
If you have met someone online and you suspect that you might be getting catfished, use any of the reverse image search methods to check any pictures that they claim is of them. This should give you an idea of how original or authentic the profile is. Once you do this you should:
- Report the user to the network or database on which you found them (Twitter, Instagram, etc.)
- Gather information about them and archive their chats, posts, etc.
- Find a social media investigator who can check your online presence and contrast it with the potential catfisher.
- If you think a crime is being comitted, you can contact the police.
To prevent someone Catfishing with your pictures, you should make sure all of your social media profiles are private and cannot be accessed by anyone you are not friends with. To do this, you should first find out what people can see on your Facebook profile, to know which pictures can be viewed by anyone and that you need to make private. Similarly, people can take your pictures from Instagram, so it might help to know how to make my profile private on Instagram.
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