Beware of the Catfish! How to Use Image Reverse Search


A Catfish is a man or woman who is not truthful about their identity when talking to others online.

A few weeks ago I discovered I was chatting to a Catfish on a dating site, his name was Michael and he seemed both funny and attractive. Then one day he started only replying on Fridays and dropping words like ‘wet’ and ‘sexy’ in his messages like a regular person drops… Uh, cell phones? I don’t know, I’m no good with metaphors, but let me tell you, I drop my cell phone a lot.

Because I am incredibly naïve, I didn’t think to question why this super-hot guy was spending his Friday nights chatting online instead of going out – Hey, maybe he spends every other day of the week sleeping with models and Friday is his ‘sit in and harass girls online’ night? Who am I to judge?

I politely ignored him until I received one particularly ridiculous message, which sent me over the edge: ‘R U hOrny?’

Eugh, I don’t care how attractive someone is; anytime a man sends me a message like that my automatic response is NO!

I decided it was time to do a little sleuthing. I discovered a program called ‘Google Image Reverse Search’, where I uploaded a photo of ‘Michael’ and it showed me everywhere else the picture appeared online. I quickly realised that I was actually chatting to the image of a 24 year old French model named Pierre.

I don’t consider myself to be particularly computer literate. In fact, I am currently sitting in a room with my laptop and a wireless printer and I cannot for the life of me figure out how to make them interact with each other. But even I can do this; Image Reverse Search is an easy and straight forward way to find out where an image might be lurking on the internet.

This quick how-to is not because I don’t think you can figure out how to do it on your own, it’s because after a quick poll of my friends almost every one of them responded with ‘Image reverse? That’s something CSI made up, right?’

I decided that if my incredibly pretty and intelligent friends were clueless there was a good chance that our incredibly pretty and intelligent readers might be to.

Let’s go Cat-fishing!

1)      First things first, go to this site: you will get a screen that looks like the image below, it’s just like regular Google but for there’s a little camera in the corner of the search box.

2)      Click the little camera and this box will come up

3)      You CAN paste the image URL from the site you are on, however if you are chatting to a guy or girl on any type of site you need to sign in for (e.g. online dating, Facebook) their picture will not register with Google. Instead you need to save their picture on your computer and then click ‘upload an image’. 

 4)      Click choose file, then select your image and click ‘open’.

5)      Voila! You have a list of everywhere this image appears on Google. And yes, if you’re wondering why all the links are pre-clicked it’s because this is not the first time I have image reversed myself… for journalistic purposes of course.

One last thing, Google is not able to search through Facebook or any other site you need to sign into, which means if the image is someone’s profile pic it won’t show up.

This program is also not advanced enough to find images that have been cropped or distorted, unfortunately for now, that technology is still purely reserved for your favorite crime dramas.

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Alex Wise served over 5 years as relationship expert helping women from around the world figure out the men in their love lives from an honest, male perspective. Alex is one of the contributors and editors for dating website. He is passionate about thought leadership writing, and regularly contributes to various career, social media, public relations, branding, and online dating communities.