How To Identify Fraud: Scammer Picture Search

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In the 2004 movie, The Lion King, the words “Look beyond what you see” resonated throughout the story. 

It carries an important message that can be used today. Always look beyond what you see. Don’t believe everything your eyes tell you– especially when fraud is involved.

Scammers are masters of creating a fake online presence. From websites to social media to dating apps, they’re keen on putting up a ‘normal’ front to lower their victims’ guard. 

The good news is that technology has given us different tools to track these scammers down. 

While Identifying scammers is difficult, there are ways to verify whether the picture they’re using is legit. Learn them in this article.

How to Do a Scammer Picture Search

Reverse image searching allows you to find people using their pictures. Scammers can easily fake their names. But they can’t hide the sources of their stolen or altered images.

After uploading an image, a reverse image search engine maps out distinct lines, colors, textures, and points. The data gathered is compared to other pictures from several databases. 

It also cross-references the data using social media platforms, dating sites, forums, and many other websites to gather a comprehensive list of matches.

The following reverse image search websites can help you identify whether these photos are from scammers. 

1.Using LookUp Tools

When verifying information online, lookup tools can be a great option. These services often offer the most convenient way of uncovering stolen images. 

Lookup tools are easy to use. Just input the photo the scammer sent you into the tool’s search bar, and the site will do the rest for you.

Services like this are essential for making investments or getting to know someone online. So if you’re unsure about a person you’re talking to, you can use one of these websites below:

Social Catfish

Social Catfish is a dating investigation service that can help you verify the identity of the person you’re talking to. Its most prominent feature is its proficient reverse image search tool. 

Just upload a picture of a suspected scammer. Social Catfish then uses its facial recognition engine to look for the person online, even if they live outside the US. 

The service provides a report that details the person’s phone numbers, email addresses, city and country, web usernames, account IDs, relationships, and affiliations.

Aside from the image search tool, Social Catfish can also look for a person using their name, email or physical address, phone number, or username. This way, you can verify whether someone is who they say they are. 

The lookup tool has a rating of 3.55 stars from 46 reviews in SiteJabber. And a 3-day trial period with it costs $6.87. A monthly subscription is worth $28.97.

Social Catfish also offers varying discounts, so checking before signing up for their services would be helpful.

Google Image Search

The world’s leading Search Engine launched its image search functionality in 2011. Nowadays, it is still one of the best reverse image search tools. 

Though less accurate than Social Catfish, Google is still a good starting place when attempting to find a scammer. It’s free, and you can fine-tune the search using the Tools feature.

Upload an image to Google Images. Click the Tools button and set up various advanced filters to refine your search. Choose the image’s type and most dominant color to narrow the results to the most significant ones.

Google image searching eats up more time and effort. Because there can be too many results, you must spend more time looking for the answers you want.


TinEye works just like any other image search engine. The investigative company focuses on innovating computer vision, machine learning, and pattern recognition. 

To use this site, just upload a potential scammer’s photo, which’ll be compared to over 60.2 billion images in its index. You don’t need to refine your search by setting up filters. 

TinEye has highly accurate recognition Application Programming Interfaces that let you verify an image and several source websites.

TinEye is free but only for non-commercial usage. If used commercially, the service offers more features like checking, deploying fraud detection solutions, and identifying stock photos which are handy when tracking down a scammer. 

The service doesn’t offer a monthly subscription for commercial use. It measures fees by searches. The costs range from $200 for 5,000 searches to $10,000 for a million. 

2. Different Types of Romance Scammers

In a romance scam, the victim is lured into falling in love and having a relationship with someone who just wants money. 

In 2022, romance scams victimized nearly 70,000 people who lost $1.3 billion. To put it into perspective, that could be an average of $18,571.43 stolen from every victim.

Perpetrators steal pictures from real people, alter them, and create new identities. They make these identities as believable as possible. So it’s often difficult to tell whether your new man is real or you’re just getting duped. 

The following are the most rampant types of romance scams: 

3. Oil Rig Scammers

One of the most prevalent romance scammers claims to work for oil rigs. According to the Federal Trade Commission, 6% of 8,070 reported cases in 2022 came from scammers who said, “I’m on an oil rig or ship.”

Real offshore drilling engineers are situated far away. They’re known to have difficult working conditions. Scammers use these facts as excuses not to video call or meet victims personally.

After building a relationship with their victim, they’d ask for gifts or money to cover debt or medical fees for themselves or family members.

4. Navy or Sailor Scammers

In 2020, BBC reported that a woman lost over $10,000 after falling in love with an imposter posing as a ship captain named ‘Thomas Steve.’

Online con artists steal pictures from existing sailors and navy officers and build fake profiles on Instagram, Facebook, or

Victims are then lured into sending money via third-party gateways. Or, they’d be made to pay suspiciously large shipping fees to fake companies to receive gifts that would never come.

5. Military Scammers

In this scam, the fraudster tells you they’re part of the US Military– widowed, divorced, or nearing the end of their careers. They then declare they have a substantial savings account or a considerable retirement pay to hook their victims.

The US Department of Defence disclosed that these imposters would ask for money to pay for service-related fees typically covered by the government. 

These include medical, communication, transportation, processing, or leave fees.

The thieves would then provide jpeg or pdf copies of false paperwork and bogus links. The links typically do not look like government-led pages, with domains that don’t end in .mil or .gov.

6. International Organization Scammers

Officers and oil rig engineers aren’t the only ones being impersonated. Dating scammers also pretend to work for Interpol, the United Nations, the World Health Organization, or the World Bank Group.

People praise high-ranking positions that are connected to global organizations. They’re at a place of authority, so they’re respected.

Fraudsters take advantage of this and position themselves to be trustworthy so that we’re more willing to send them money. 

7. Traveler Scammers

The “Stranded Traveler” is a ploy that targets sympathetic victims. It’s so common that in 2012, the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center received 150,000 complaints about it.

To entice their victims, imposters steal exciting travel pictures and post them on dating apps and websites. 

Scammers would also pretend to be rich and influential, justifying that they can afford their extravagant lifestyle.  

After getting into a relationship with a victim, the con artist asks for help, claiming to be trapped in a country, slammed in a foreign jail, or robbed by a criminal. 

The victim is then asked to send money to help them escape. They’re reassured that they’d be refunded after. But nothing happens after that.

Wrap Up

The bottom line is that the internet is not a safe place to trust people immediately. There are most likely hundreds of scams out there.

But reverse image searching is a valuable tool. It can protect you. Identifying if a picture is misused can lead to early scam detection. 

So arm yourself with your new-found knowledge of scams and the available tools that can help you. 

Remember, look beyond what you see.


How do you know if you are chatting with a scammer?

One surefire way to know if you’re talking to a catfish or scammer is to do reverse image searching. Run their profile pictures through Google, Social Catfish, or TinEye.

Can you track online scammers?

You can track scammers using a variety of tools. You may use effective lookup tools or search engines like Google or Yahoo. You can also hire a professional private investigator. 

How do you find a fake profile?

Download the suspicious person’s profile picture. Open Social Catfish, Google Image Search, or TinEye. Upload the picture to any of the three tools and see whether it’s been taken from elsewhere on the internet.

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