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Are you for real? Beware of the Catfish

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Tara Merry

Tara Merry is a self-confessed blogger and bad decision maker. Originally from New Zealand she recently moved to the United Kingdom, where she plans to kiss as many frogs as possible before midnight strikes and she turns back into a pumpkin.

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How to use Image Reverse Search

If you’ve been watching MTV recently you have probably seen the show or heard the word ‘Catfish’. If you haven’t then let me explain; I consider myself qualified to translate pop culture slang because I’m totes DTF with my swagger when I GTL, YOLO!

OK, I’ll be honest; I have no idea what I just said.

But I can tell you what a Catfish is; 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’. 

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

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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.

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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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  • Mynx

    Girlfriend of mine was “catfished” ages ago on a dating site. All was fine until he strung this story about needed cash in a hurry and she figured he was trying to scam her. She did wonder at the time, just who’s photo he had used in his little game

    • Tara Merry

      So horrible, I feel really terrible for all the unwitting people getting their photos used as well!

  • Jewels

    I suspect that pretty early on in the internet’s invention, back when I was in early high school and perfecting my flirting online that I was talking to people who weren’t what they said they were. Thank goodness at that time it wasn’t serious and I had no intentions of meeting those people. In the day of Facetime, Skype, and Google+ chats I think it’s getting harder to Catfish people because they are demanding to see the people they are speaking to, and rightly so.

    Great article, Tara!

    • Tara Merry

      Thanks Jewels! I’m lucky that I didn’t get too caught up with Michael before I realised that he wasn’t actually Michael :/ but I’m sure it must have been pretty horrible pre-skype days!