Spotting photo thieves on social media

We all know you can’t believe everything you see on the internet, but you could be a victim in some of the scams going around and not even know it. 

Scam artists are using photos stolen from somewhere else for profile picture on social media. They’re also using photos stolen from real news stories with fake headlines, like one claiming a woman gave birth to her 14th child. In reality, she only had one, but the story was posted and reposted around the world. The photo was stolen from a newspaper website in Milford, Oregon, announcing the city’s first baby born in 2015.

It happens a lot. Here’s how to find out if the photo you’re looking at is what it’s supposed to be.

I used the website search engine Tin Eye. It’s a reverse image search. Copy the website address of the photo you’re checking and paste it into the search bar. You find where the photo originated and where else it has been posted online.

In another example, a LinkedIn profile picture of "Hazel Fisher" is actually is a studio shot of a model showing off a hairstyle for graduation first posted on hairstylic.com

Back to the fake story claiming a woman had 14 children. Let’s check out a photo from World News Daily it claimed was of the woman’s 13
other children. In truth, the photo has been used many times online for different reasons. It’s a stock photo for sale at stockphoto.com

Here’s the takeaway:

Every photo you post online — whether it’s on Facebook or any other site — if it’s posted for anyone in the public to see, it’s there for anyone to steal and use however they choose.

And don’t immediately trust profile pictures for social media accounts from people you don’t know.

Check them out first on tineye.com. You can also use it on your photos to see if anyone is stealing them.

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