Spotting Fake Profiles with Google Images

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In my free online dating guide, I talk about using a service called tineye to identify fake dating profiles. In this article, I want to talk about using Google Images to do the same thing.

In many ways I’m writing this for men as I believe scams with beautiful women are aimed more at them (for obvious reasons). That said, this should be helpful to anyone as there are multiple reasons people put up fake photos, not just for scams.

Fake Dating Profiles and Google Images

Here I’m going to walk you through the process of using Google Images to find out if the person might be using a fake photo. Fake photos often point to fake profiles (or at least someone who’s lying about what they look like!) I’ll be using for this example.

Fake Profile Photo Example

Here I have a (fictional) profile where I’m a bit suspicious that I might be looking at someone using fake photos. While my example is trivial as I’m using a super model that many would recognize on first glance, the steps are still helpful in less obvious situations. Let’s walk through those steps.

1. Getting the Image Location from
When logged into your account, open the suspicious profile and right-click the photo then:

  • In Firefox, select Copy Image Location
  • In Chrome, select Copy Image URL
  • In Internet Explorer, select Properties. In the window that appears, select the text in the Address section and copy it (Control + C in Windows)

Copy the image location

2. Search for the Image on Google
Go to and click the Images link at the top. Paste the text you copied from the previous step into the search box. It should look something like this:

Google Images Search

3. Switch to Search by Image
At the time of this writing, by default step 2 above won’t get you the results we want. However, you should see a link at the top that says:

Search by Image

Click this link and you should now see matches for the image. For “real” profile photos this very well may return no results as the photo may not be on the internet. However, if they are using the photo of a model or someone else, often it will become very clear that they are lying.

Fake Image Search Results

In my fictional example that I’ve been walking through here, it’s become clear that someone is using an image of the Victoria Secret model Miranda Kerr. A little research reveals that not only does she NOT live in Pittsburgh where I’m searching, but she’s married to Orlando Bloom! Sounds like a fake profile to me!

An Optional Final Step
report a concernIf it’s painfully obvious that the person is lying, you may want to consider reporting a concern about the profile ( has this feature and I imagine most of the major dating services have something like it). This could save the next guy the hassle of emailing a fake profile.

Just keep in mind that beautiful people can use online dating too. Just because they’re a model doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a fake profile (especially if you live in New York or Los Angeles).

Fake Dating Profiles: A Few Warning Signs

Now I don’t think you should be suspicious of every profile online and I don’t see this process necessary most of the time. There are two things I would encourage you to watch out for where this process can be well worth the thirty seconds it takes:

  1. Amazing photographs. And I don’t just mean beauty (although that will be there). I mean that the lighting is perfect or that things are posed in every single photo they have. Real people most often have real photos and if none of the photos in the profile look like a “normal” photo, I would be suspicious.

  2. The profile is very light on details or generalizes everything. Sometimes they may include a lot of typing but they still don’t reveal much.

If you see both of these issues at the same time, I would be even more suspicious.

Hopefully these steps help you save some time on who you contact. If anyone else has tips for how to spot a fake profile, I’d love to have you share them!



About the Author:

Brad initially struggled with online dating but over time became quite successful using it. He met his wife using online dating and has been giving advice and helping people improve their results since 2007. He has written a Free Online Dating Guide to help others find success with online dating. You can learn more about his personal experience using online dating and running this website here.


  1. lynda makara  December 19, 2011

    Fake profiles are a big problem on Almost every single one of the daily matches they send me are fake. How can you spot a fake? Well, it’s pretty obvious after a while. But what I always do is copy and paste their intro paragraph into a new window and google it. That will usually turn up one or more websites where the profile can be found. Then I click on a couple of them and will see that it’s the same profile, only the pictures, locations and personal information have been changed. Other things to look for are the poor English used, run-on sentences, “I” not being capitalized, and the minimum height requirement is left at 3 feet. The profile usually starts off with how “outgoing” and “honest” they are. Then they go on and on about how you have to learn to trust, etc. Even their usernames look fake. They look something like this: sunrisesunset4u2luv.

  2. Brad  December 19, 2011

    Great tips Lynda – thanks!

  3. Anonymous  December 31, 2011

    Some copy and paste your profile info (about me, interests, etc.) and paste it on their profile and change it a little bit so it looks like it’s theirs. It’s important to meet them in person in a safe and comfortable place and see if they’re that person on the profile. You have to observe and be attentive when you date them in person and you may find out something good or bad.

  4. Julie  February 23, 2012

    AWESOME info, thank you soooooooo much! I had someone that was interested in my profile, I did your Google search for the photo, and sure enough, this guy used a model’s photo!! I just new a guy that hot would not be interested in me. Thank you so much!

  5. Will  February 27, 2012

    With experience, I’ve found I can often pick out the fake photos just from the look of them. It’s hard to explain, but there’s just a look to them. I guess they are “too perfect” or something (i.e., a model photo). Another big give away is the age range. A hot 30 something year old girl WILL NOT have a desired age range of 30-65. If there’s any doubt, I look for LOCAL specifics in the essays. Russian scams will talk about honesty, respect, maybe family, maybe liking travel, and other cliches, but the never mention specific local hot spots (Giovani’s Restaurant, McMurphy’s Bar, the Whitmore Museum, the River District, etc.)

  6. dex ironwood  June 19, 2012

    Another good way is in the use of grammer. Many russian and african fakes always have trouble with small things like contractions, the wording is way to proper or a bit reversed. You can also
    o throw down a saying that most oeiple would know but the fake profile will ask you what you mean as they dont understand. Also describe a place they should know and either add something that is obvisouly not there (ie: monster truck ralley on the pier) or ask them what they like about it and guage the answer. I actually have fun screwing w/the fakers and jerking them around.

  7. cda888  November 27, 2014

    Some people are more clever, and will take pictures from random places on the web of real people, like “yelp” profile pictures. They will also give very detailed and believable profile descriptions of themselves and what they are looking for. They will have a location that is close to you in their profile. But they will still cast way too wide a net, looking for “men aged 35-65,” of any race, and any height. This was a new one on me. I google searched one of the photos, and it could have been a real person. I caught the catfish by cutting and pasting a couple of the more unique sentences from the profile into the google search box. Guess what? “KeeganChr” took her profile, with a few minor changes, from an OK Cupid profile belonging to a 21 year old man.


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