How To Get Fake Profile Pictures & Spot Fakes On Social Media | Data Overhaulers (2023)

Care to guess how many fake profile photos are used on social media accounts? Every 3 months, more than1billion fake Facebook accounts are removed! Research also shows that1 in 10online dating profiles is fake. But, having a fake profile picture has some legitimate uses for privacy. So, how do you create a fake profile photo?

To create fake profile pictures, use an AI-based face generator or take your own photograph obscuring your face. Some users scrape social media accounts which is unethical and potentially illegal. Other users make use of stock photos. Reverse image search engines can check for fake profile pictures.

The dangers of using fake pictures or engaging with a profile using fake pictures are more than just a waste of time. It can risk your privacy, security, and safety. You have a few options for hiding your identity for security and privacy. Later, we have some tips to help you spot dubious profiles before.

How To Get Fake Profile Pictures & Spot Fakes On Social Media | Data Overhaulers (1)

How To Get or Create Fake Profile Pictures

If you arenot comfortable using a real pictureon a social network or online dating site, you have a few options.

Use AI To Generate Photos

The online tool,This Person Does Not Exist(TPDNE), is the best place to get a high-resolution fake profile picture. The images are unique (as I confirmed using the tips later on) and are of people who never really existed.

Once you land on the site, you’re welcomed with the first randomly created image generated by artificial intelligence. If you refresh the site, a new photograph is generated.

The platform uses research by chip designer Nvidia to generate thousands of fake images.

The algorithm behind it uses a dataset of images of real people, and through agenerative adversarial network(GAN),two machine learning neural networks work against one another to fabricate a composite portrait. The process blends features from the input images to produce a randomized, albeit quite convincing, fake profile picture.

I foundtwo problemsin using this method to generate a fake avatar in testing.

Problem 1: Only One Pose

The primary downside of this technique is that you only get a single photo of the generated person. It’snot yet possible to have multiple, varied posesof the same character. This means your fake profile picture will be the same across all online channels.

This may be fine for Twitter, Google, Quora, or any other online forum that only shows a single photo. This option may also allow users to bypass the facial recognition step when signing up for Facebook accounts (I advise against this for multiple reasons).

If you need several images of the same person, this tool is not ideal.

Problem 2: Reverse Image Search Can Find Matches

The second problem I found was thatsometimes reverse image searches find some of the source images.

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Take a look at this output from TPDNE.

How To Get Fake Profile Pictures & Spot Fakes On Social Media | Data Overhaulers (2)

Several results were found when I fed it into TinEye image search.

How To Get Fake Profile Pictures & Spot Fakes On Social Media | Data Overhaulers (3)

Ideally, you don’t want any potential matches to your fake profile picture. A better way to create an account avatar is to snap your own profile photo.

Take Your Own Photograph

Instead of going through all the trouble of finding a generated photo, have youconsidered taking your own shot? While images are important on social media, they do not have to include your face.

Of course, today’s smartphones take great photos. On top of it, the availability of excellent photo manipulation software makes quick edits super easy. Not only can you elevate your profile picture for social media or online dating, but you can also obscure and modify your photos for privacy.

You can alsotake your avatar shot in an artsy way or from a novel angleobscuring your face.

Use A Pseudonym With Your Real Profile Picture

Another good alternative is topair your real visage with falsified profiledata.

For instance, you can use different full names, personas, a different writing style, a burner phone number, a nearby city, and slightly varied birthdates.

This accomplishes two unique advantages:

  1. Compartmentalization: You can assign different names and pseudonymous information to each social network giving you the ability to pinpoint where a data leak occurs
  2. Multiple Profile Photos: Since they’re your photos, you can get new photos in a variety of poses or situations you want

Note:If you’re using this idea for a dating profile, you might want to be a bit honest because you intend to meet with your match. You wouldn’t want to start a relationship off on the wrong foot.

But keep in mind that anyone can use facial-recognition software to identify the real you. What we’re doing is spreading multiple possible identities to throw off tracking.

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Stop Using Toxic Social Media

Some social networks or dating services require you to upload a profile photo to sign up. While theintention is to cut down on fake accounts, this alsocauses mistrustfor those using the services, especially for you, the privacy-conscious reader.

Avoiding social mediamakes you less vulnerable to the myriad of adverse effects on your digital and real-world life.

Yes, social media and the web offer the best way to keep in touch with family and friends, but taking a break from your social accounts allows you to concentrate on real-world interactions.

But,for those social-type humansthat absolutely must be connected, take a look at alternative social networks where your privacy isn’t degraded with each new friend request.

Switch To A Privacy-Respecting Social Network Alternative

Check out these privacy-respecting social networks, which do not require a profile pic or personally identifiable information (PII) to sign up. There areplenty of alternatives that mirror their Big Tech offerings:

Feel free to post social media to these social networks, but don’t feel like you have to.

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How NOT To Get Profile Photos

Now that you know some options on how to protect your privacy the correct way. Let’s talk about where you shouldnotget fake profile pictures.

Do Not Use Stock Photos

A while back, a friend got excited having been matched up with an attractive partner on a dating site. She told him that she lived in a suburb nearby and worked as an angel investor. The connection was going well, but something wasoff.

That prompted him to do a Google Reverse Image search on her photo. And boom, he found her, the charming angel investor…in Getty Stock photos. Yes, the individual he was talking to was a phony.

Now, though this wasn’t the first time he was chatting with a stock image, the phenomenon,catfishing, is really fascinating. Why should you use a fake photo to chat with others online?

Maybe it’s because you do not want others to know that you are using a dating site, or you do not want to give away your privacy. But it is always a good idea to be genuine. If you cannot use your real photo, then use an AI to generate a good image and be truthful from the start about the picture.

Catfishing is not a great way to find a partner. Besides, what happens when the time for a face-to-face date comes?

Use your own photos to avoid such embarrassing scenarios and risk being accused of catfishing.

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Do not use stock photos or pictures from an image bank likeRandom User(a suggestion from my research).

Do Not Use Other People’s Social Media

Other authors suggest snagging photos from other people’s social media accounts and passing them off for your purposes.

It bears acknowledging that this is not onlyunethicalbut it is alsoillegalin many jurisdictions.

I’m not a lawyer, but copyright is given to creators of intellectual works, including photographs. By using someone else’s pictures without licensing, you’reviolating their copyright.

You’re also subject to the terms and conditions of that dating or social media platform in the event you’re found using others’ content.

How To Get Fake Profile Pictures & Spot Fakes On Social Media | Data Overhaulers (5)

How To Check For Fake Profile Pictures

Now that you know how to create a fictitious profile photo, you’ll also want to know sometips to identify when other’s are posting fakes. There are many signs that you’ve found a fake social media account. However, keep in mind that none of these methods are guaranteed indicators. They simply raise a red flag that you’ve found a phony profile picture.

Check The Social Feed Appears Suspect

With themishandling of user data rampant by today’s social media platforms, many people choose not to show their actual image over privacy concerns.

This attention to privacy happens typically with older people who don’t like sharing everything online. However, this rarely happens with younger people. They are itching to advertise what they are doing.

Active users on the most big-name social networkregularly change profile picturesand engage with others.

If there isonly one image and no updatesor social feed, it could point to a potentially fake account.

The Profile Picture Looks Too Polished

Another way to spot a fake profile picture is to check how professional the avatar looks.

We usually click pictures with a smartphone camera, which is not perfect. It might be a fake if aprofile photo looks overly professionalwith ideal lighting, composition, and angles.

The About Section Has Thin Content

Anotherway to identify a fake profileis tocheck the about section.

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Many people (over)share their personal details comprehensively. They list their current employment, experiences, education, and even location.

If you see nothing in this section, itmight be a fake profile with a fake profile picture.

Use Reverse Image Search

You can use reverse image search services to verify the image is unique or at least associated with the same person across the internet’s public sites.

Tools such asGoogle imagescan help.

To useGoogle image search

  1. Right-click and save the image on your computer (long-press and Save on mobile)
  2. Navigate to Google Images and click on the Camera icon
  3. Click onUpload an imageand then click onChoose file
  4. Select the profile picture and upload it

It will look for information if somebody else has used the image elsewhere on the internet. Theresults will point you to the sites where the photo is displayedand a description and link. The image search results may also display related images.

To get a second opinion, you can alsorun the suspected fake profile picture throughTinEyein much the same way.

Regrettably, not all accounts are verifiable. However, with a bit ofdetective effort, you can determine whether or not an account profile picture is legitimate.

There is justone additional toolyou have to check for fakes…

Gut Feeling

Many times humans get a gut-level feeling that something isoff.Do not ignore your subconscious decision-maker.

For those who regularly surf social media, you probably have a good idea of what’s a real photo and a fake profile picture look like. Don’t doubt your intuition. It might just be right.

Got other ways to generate profile pictures or check if one’s a fake? …

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How can I spot a fake social media account? ›

Fake accounts often spread false information and fill their feeds with stock photos, memes or other recycled images. Posts with no written content or one-sided and extreme views could be signs of a fake account. Look for verification symbols. Accounts claiming to be celebrities or influencers may be owned by imposters.

What are fake profiles on social media? ›

When cyber fraudsters create a social media profile using the identity details like name, address, mail id, photograph etc., of victim, without their knowledge, it is called a fake profile creation. The fraudsters create fake profile with an intention of causing harm to the victim.

How do I find a dummy account? ›

Below is a full list of signs that help you identify a fake account.
  1. Using default profile picture or fake picture. ...
  2. Misspelling. ...
  3. None of the same friends or contacts. ...
  4. Read the person's profile. ...
  5. Is following more people than they have followers. ...
  6. Substitution of characters. ...
  7. Addition of extra space characters.
Aug 31, 2020

How do you make a fake profile believable? ›

Try these ideas instead:
  1. Take a selfie, but use enough filters to make yourself look unrecognizable.
  2. Use a cool nature photo, like a sunset or underwater scene.
  3. Animals! Everyone loves cute animal photos.
  4. Take a screenshot from a movie, music video, or cartoon.
May 6, 2021

How do you spot a fake profile on Facebook? ›

How Can We Tell If A Facebook Account Is Fake?
  1. Not Many Pics. Bots tend not to post lots of photos. ...
  2. Weird Bio Information. If the biography information on the account seems fanciful or just plain unrealistic, then it's likely not to be a legitimate account.
  3. The Account Doesn't Message. ...
  4. Blank Wall. ...
  5. Lots Of Likes.
Jun 18, 2017

How do I track a dummy on Facebook? ›

About This Article
  1. Ask them questions.
  2. Look for hard-to-believe statements in their profile.
  3. Do a reverse-image search on their profile photo.
  4. Search the internet for their name and location.
  5. Look at their friends list.
  6. Check for comments and likes on their posts.
  7. See if they've been tagged in photos and posts.


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