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Step 1: Screen every profile image using a reverse online image search

Scammers steal photographs of real people to create realistic profiles. Reverse image searches of profile pictures can help you spot the difference between a genuine and a fake profile – it can also confirm if the image has been used before in a scam.

Why is this a good idea?

Scammers steal photographs of real people to create realistic profiles. Reverse image searches of profile pictures can help you spot the difference between a genuine and a fake profile – it can also confirm if the image has been used before in a scam.

How to do it

You can use Google’s reverse online image search of photos, and if the suspect profile photo appears under different names, you may have caught yourself a scammer.

On a computer or device:

  1. Open a web browser, like Chrome or Firefox
  2. Go to Google Images
  3. Click Search by image
  4. Click Upload an image
  5. Choose file or Browse
  6. Select a picture from your computer
  7. Click Open or Choose.

Google Image Search search icon (in search bar)

Google Image Search browse by URL dialogue box

Google Image Search upload search image dialogue box

Visit Google Search Help for more advice on doing an online reverse image search.

Other online image search tools and apps you can use include*:

* Suggested by Professor Monica Whitty, cyber psychologist at the University of Melbourne.