Has someone created a fake identity with your photo? You have been catfished!

How to deal with catfishing, how to find where your photos have been used, how to protect your image - these are issues that we address in this article.

Has someone created a fake identity with your photo? You have been catfished!

Can you remember the episode from Friends where Phoebe finds out that she is a famous porn star? For some time she feels used and exposed because someone is trashing her reputation and she is aware that men are looking at her in a different, unpleasant way. Later she figures out that it was her twin sister Ursula who was using Phoebe’s name instead of her own.

Unfortunately, this kind of situation isn’t only part of a TV series script. A lot of people struggle with having their photos stolen and used to create fake accounts on dating services or networking websites. So, even if you don’t have a twin sibling who you don’t trust, but you learn that you have a strange account on some dating site or adult-only portal, you have probably been catfished. How to deal with catfishing, how to find where your photos have been used, how to protect your image - these are issues that we address in this article. Our tips will be useful for both types of catfishing victims: those whose photos have been stolen and those who have been lied to by a fraud. If you would like to know what catfishing is, read this article on our blog.

What does it mean to be catfished? How can you know that you have been catfished?

It is very difficult to discover by yourself that someone has been catfishing you. Usually, you are alarmed or warned by someone you know who has accidentally found your strange account or by a person who has been the victim of a fraud in which your data (a name, number, or photo) has been used.

If someone uses your identity on the Internet, you're a victim of catfishing.

Catfishing has many faces, some more and some less destructive. Sometimes the only harm that comes from stealing your identity is someone’s disappointment (for instance when that person gets involved with somebody who has created a fake profile on a dating service). But much more serious consequences are not so rare: a fraud (let’s call them a “catfish”) can use your photo to create a legitimate profile on an advertising portal and extort money by selling non-existing things. A “catfish” can also extort money on dating websites (as part of a personal favor) or use profiles with fake photos to blackmail someone.

A “catfish” usually makes every effort to convince someone that they are the person from the photo. That is why it is so difficult to recognize that kind of deception. It makes it all the more easy to understand when we realize that usually it’s emotions and hopes, not logic and a cool head, that are parts of online dating.

How to check if you are a victim of catfishing

The easiest way to find out if someone is using a photo illegally is to use PimEyes’ face recognition search engine. Thanks to this tool you will be able to find where your face appears online and verify if these sites are the ones you have uploaded your pictures to.

Upload your photo to find out if someone is using pictures with your face to create fake profiles

Depending on your search results, go to the next paragraph if you find yourself on suspicious websites, or skip to the next paragraph if your privacy seems to be protected.

Oh no, someone is using my picture! What now?

If your suspicions turned out to be true, you need to take action. You have many possibilities to fight against the illegal usage of your image and your actions should depend on the gravity of the crime. In many cases, especially those related to money extortions, catfishing should be reported to the Police. It is better for you to report it than to be accused of a crime you didn’t commit.

But that is only one part of fighting for your good name. The other part is based on removing photos from source websites and is also very important. You have to take care of this because it will allow you to protect yourself from further illegal usage of your image.

How to take down the photos with your identity that a catfish stole?

Before the Police find the “catfish” and before they are convicted, you should fight for removing the photo from the external website as soon as possible. You can do that by yourself or use the help of professionals from PimEyes. As a part of the PROtect plan, they will track down the owner of the website on which your photo appears, prepare legal documents demanding to remove the image, and send a legal request on your behalf. Read more on how to remove a photo from the Internet from the tutorial article on our blog.

Seems like my image is now protected. I want it to stay that way. What should I do?

We are very happy that you are a person aware of the risks that a photo leak may cause. You are on your way to protecting your image effectively. For people like you, we have prepared a service called the PimEyes Alerts. It is one of the features of our subscription plans.

In PimEyes’ Alerts, you’ll get a notification every time we find a new result with your face. This way you can monitor your online presence and take actions when something alarming happens. Get to know more about PimEyes' Alerts from this article on our blog.

PimEyes’ Alerts isn’t designed only for people who feel that their image is more or less protected. It will also help you monitor if the photos you had removed don’t come up on the same or different websites and protect your image effectively.