End Catfishing: Use Google Image Search to Protect Yourself from Online Chat Fraud.

Had the DVR on the other day while I was working. The show ended and the channel was set up on an MTV show called Catfish.  The show, evidently based on a movie by the same name is about people who have long term relationships online,  using other people’s pictures to represent themselves.

Don’t know what a catfish is? A catfish is a woman or man who uses a fake identity, often with pictures, to attract someone else. Many times, these are people who are ashamed of their body types, or their personality, and try to be someone else on the Internet. But often, these are people who are trying to scam their prey out of money.

People, people, people, Google image search wants to save you from the misery of finding out that person is a fraud.  In addition to searching on words, Google image search allows you to search by picture as well. You have a choice of downloading  a picture of your person in question, copying the url the picture is located at, or using Snipping Tool or another screen editor to copy the picture you have from Skype or a chat site.  If your search results in your partner being a famous (there anyway) Filipino actress, then more than likely, you should step away. It’s doesn’t necessarily mean you are safe, but it will screen out a lot of bad fishies.

no-catfish

You should never, ever, let unknown people become your Skype buddies. It’s a big security problem, especially if you start sharing files with them. You should just hit the delete button. But I didn’t, because I wanted to try this. Got a Skype text from Desiree Parisee, from Paris, France, asking me to be her friend. I snipped her profile picture (which was as beautiful as her name and home city),  and loaded it into Google Image Search.  Turns out that Desiree had an appearance identical to a unknown Japanese actress.  I hit block and report, and I won’t be hearing anymore from that catfish.

If there is any interest, email me at paul@paulmisner.com, and I’d be happy to do a Youtube video to walk you through my “Catfish Detection Kit”

A postscript. Remember, this strategy can be used against you as well. If you are planning on using a dating site, do the following:

  • Take a unique photo of yourself for that site. Do not use it anywhere else
  • Make sure that you do not record GPS info from your phone onto the picture. That info can be read with a viewer like the one found at http://regex.info/exif.cgi
  • Check Google Image Search against that picture. It’s a good search engine, you may come up.
  • Periodically, check that picture on Google. You don’t want your picture to be someone else’s catfish bait.

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