Spotting a Fake Online Dating Profile: Is That Picture For Real?

Ever wonder if a profile you’ve seen on your dating site is for real? Maybe the person looks too good to be true. They’re ultra geeky, they’re super attractive (to you!) and best of all, they’ve emailed you and are interested in getting to know you better!

Surely, there’s a catch.

The good news is that more often than not, there’s not. There are millions of good singles out there on online dating sites and they’re just like you.

But there are spammers and scammers too. Luckily, the fine people of the internet are here to help you out fake profiles with a cool free resource called TinEye.

What Is TinEye?

TinEye is a reverse image search engine. In a regular search engine, you type “Los Angeles skyline” and you get a bunch of photos of the Los Angeles skyline. For TinEye, you upload a picture you found of the Los Angeles skyline and it will tell you what other websites are using that picture.

Or, if you found a picture online, you can paste the URL of that photo into TinEye and it will tell you what other websites are using that same picture.

Let’s Make A Fake!

For experimental purposes, I went into Google and looked for photos of Olivia Munn. I didn’t choose the most glamorous shots of her because those would be too obvious. A good scammer would know to choose more candid shots, perhaps ones of her off set or at a convention.

Here are the three photos of Olivia that I chose:

For each photo, I cropped out any watermarks present at the bottom (since obviously a scammer wouldn’t leave those there either!).

I uploaded each to TinEye to see how it would do…

The first two photos came up with no results.

The bikini shot did, however:

The Final Word

While a service like TinEye is by no means perfect, it’s a valuable tool if you’re feeling iffy about someone’s online dating profile. You may find a faux celebrity, a random picture off Google, or even a stock image being used in a scammer’s profile. Or if you’re lucky, you find the person’s Picasa album with lots of other photos of them, their family, and other warm fuzzies. We’ll hope for the latter!

Happy dating, geek friends.

About e

Since 2008, E. Foley of Geek’s Dream Girl has been helping geeks from around the world find love. She writes amazing online dating profiles for her fellow geeks and guides them through the perilous waters of the dating scene and out the other side. She's totally proud to report that she's even caused a couple geek weddings! She lives in Maryland with DaveTheGame, her adorable cats, Mr. Peanut & Don Juan, and Titania, Queen of the Cocker Spaniels. (Email e, or follow @geeksdreamgirl on Twitter.)

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