Someone Used my Photo to Catfish A Dude

fake facebook profile

Sometimes I feel like weird things only happen to me. Case in point: last summer when I somehow developed a weird, dark rash on my hands from making guacamole and sitting in the sun (it actually is called Phytophotodermatitis), or the time a Halloween costume photo of mine made the rounds on the Internet with some hilarious/gross captions. Well my friends, here’s another one to add to the books: someone used my photo to “catfish” a guy on the Internet.

Last week while working on some freelance writing work, I received an e-mail from a college student named Andrew. He kindly told me he had been chatting with a girl on the dating/hookup app Tinder and that he was becoming suspicious since she only had 2 profile photos. He thought something seemed off, so he decided to do a Google Reverse Image Search of this girl’s profile photos. When he did this, he saw that the photos came directly from my blog. Rut ro.

My heart pounded. I laughed out loud but then also cringed. I’m not a user of Tinder because 1. I’m in a relationship, and 2. I think the concept is stupid. But either way, I did some reading and realized that in order to create a Tinder account, you must link it to your personal Facebook account. Andrew, the little detective that I imagine him to be, ended up finding this mystery woman’s Facebook account that was tied to her Tinder account and sent it over to me. Lo and behold, this mystery woman was using a fake name, had some fake friends and was using my photos.

Gennifer Anastasia York was her name. Seriously. Couldn’t she have been any more obvious? I mean Gennifer with a G? Then a middle name of “Anastasia”? There’s nothing wrong with those names, but if that doesn’t scream “fake profile” to you, I’m not sure what else does. After stalking my stalker, I realized she was pretending to be a college student in Illinois (the area Andrew is from), had a few male Facebook friends and had only created her Facebook profile 2 days prior. These were all dead giveaways.

at least my hair looks good

I have a few questions for this Gennifer Anastasia York. Couldn’t you have used a cuter photo of myself and not one where I’m making a stupid face and look like a lumberjack? Shouldn’t you have done a bit more tweaking to your profile to hide your low friend count and the date you joined? Are you some girl that is so obsessed with Andrew but worried about your appearance that you had to use a fake photo?

After messaging the Facebook account, e-mailing Tinder and then reporting the account to Facebook themselves (which apparently requires a ton of work- a detailed account of the incident along with photo ID) I finally got the profile taken down a few days later. Naturally, I took some screenshots as it happened for proof and for blogging purposes.

I know having a blog and posting photos of myself puts me out there for potential weirdos to steal my photo, pretend they look like me and then lure men into their lives, but I can’t help but feel like my privacy had been invaded. You don’t have to have a blog to have your photo used- anything you put on Facebook could easily be saved and re-uploaded by a weirdo. Heck- at my old company, we had employee photos and profiles on our company’s website, so someone could easily have snapped up my photo and used it against me.

I’m not willing to give up my love of writing and interacting with other people around the world via my blog just so this doesn’t happen again. But I am thankful for Andrew reaching out to me. I’m thankful for Google Reverse Image Search. And I’m thankful that some girl (or possibly a guy) out there thinks I’m pretty enough to take my photos and pretend to be me on a dating app. Life is all about how you look at things, right? šŸ™‚


  1. AHHH Rachel, why do these things happen to you?! LOL but I agree, I would totally take it as a compliment, like this girl was using your photo because obviously she thinks you are very pretty, even if it is super creepy. Anyway, that was super awesome for him to reach out to you and let you know!

  2. WTFFFFFFFFFF??? NOOO! Although obviously this chick thinks you are pretty enough to steal photos from. That is kind of a weird but totally modern compliment!

  3. OMG!!!! That sounds like something that would happen to me. haha! Do you watch Catfish on MTV? Love that show!! They have truly taught everyone how to reverse image search and investigate these people who aren’t even real people at all. So creepy and hilarious all at once.

  4. Oh my gosh that’s so crazy! At least it hadn’t been up for a long time. Maybe search with your picture again, it’s possible your photos are being used on more than one profile.

  5. That is really crazy! At least the guy was smart enough to use Google image search, figure it out, and contact you. Hopefully less people are getting away with this thanks to Catfish on tv.

  6. AHH Creepy!!! I had this happen to me once a loooong time ago back when Myspace was around and when I messaged the girl she instantly took it down so I didn’t need to take further action. Although someone using your picture to lure in men takes it to a whole other level. I guess in a weird way, you should be flattered!

  7. this is insane! poor andrew. good thing he did his research before he got too invested in this fake person. i’m glad you could straighten everything out and get the profile deleted, even though it was a big pain in the butt.

  8. that’s insane! when I first started reading this I thought to myself, it’s really terrible that all this happened, but on the bright sight, it means she’s beautiful! haha, sorry it’s no consolation, and I think it’s terrible that this happened. truthfully, it kind of scares me too, the idea of someone taking my pictures off my blog or a picture of my cats (I know that’s silly but I’m fiercely overprotective of them) scares the crap out of me.

  9. I have total internet stranger-danger, and the irony of having a blog is not lost on me.

    What if the catfish is a reader? Eeeeeek (and I realize I probably just pointed fingers at myself). OR, what if it’s all this Andrew guy? The possibilities are endless. This is what my mind does on the internet.

    1. The way I see it, is this person could’ve gotten my photo from anything! Even a LinkedIn profile, for example. So it’s hard to completely prevent this from happening, blog or not.

  10. Wow, that is so weird. I wonder how many other bloggers this has happened to. I know this only stops the honest people, but I have a little disclaimer on my blog that says all images are property of highheelstosneakers, and you cannot use photos without permission. Maybe try that?

  11. Eeek so glad they took down the profile! Whenever I’ve watched Catfish, I’ve always wondered how awkward it must be to be the person who had their picture stolen! Seems like way too much unwanted attention!

  12. No way!! This is so crazy scary!! And how crazy that you knew the guy talking to this girl…wow…talk about small world. I am sure this happens all of the time and scares the heck out of me!! So glad the profile is down now. I wonder what this girl really looks like!! LOL!

  13. Okay I had pretty much the same thing happen to me… Someone stole like 10 of my facebook profile pics (nothing from my blog, oddly enough) and created a fake OKCupid account and started relationships with all these people. Someone ended up contacting me because they did the reverse google image search and found that the images traced back to my actual facebook, with a different name, age, location, etc. SO CREEPY. It took seriously forever to get the damn account down. OKCupid could care less about fake accounts on their website, which is really too bad…

  14. Good thing Catfish taught us all how to reverse image search haha.

    I was gonna say, don’t knock Tinder till you try it, but I know you aren’t going to try it, as you have a serious long-term boyfriend haha. But I have actually had decent experiences on Tinder because they have a great feature – mutual Facebook friends. This way, you really do have someone to account for the other person’s actual existence lol. Just sayin’, from one super-single gal to one not-single gal. šŸ˜‰

  15. STAHP! Are you serious?!? This is the craziest thing ever. I can’t believe that this happened to you – so crazy and terrible šŸ™

  16. Thx for sharing this with us Rachel!! That’s so creepy!! One of the reasons why I’m still indifferent of up-loading photos of myself (& friends)… x

  17. You seriously have the weirdest things happen to you!!! I guess you could think of it that she needed a picture cute enough to get guys…so that’s you! Still, creepy.

  18. Am I the only one who notices that “her” initials would be GAY? I notice all this dumb stuff. Still, this is amusing. Glad you got it taken care of!

  19. OMG I never fail to love reading your blog!! This is what I miss when I go on blog-cations. Damn it lol I am happy that you took the high road because I would have been a little depressed. Thank you for sharing šŸ™‚

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