Cyber crime expert's advice on how to spot a catfish and fake dating profiles online

Former Queensland Police detective and cyber crime expert Brian Hay has revealed how to spot fake Tinder profiles, in a bid to help people stay safe while dating online

Former Queensland Police detective and cyber crime expert Brian Hay has dished out some advice to Today Extra (

(Image: Getty Images/iStockphoto)

A cyber crime expert is shedding light on how to avoid catfish and fake profiles on platforms like Tinder, to help people stay safe online.

Former Queensland Police detective and cyber crime expert Brian Hay has dished out some advice to Today Extra.

“If you’re going to go into any sort of online relationship, dating app or platform you must expect you will be contacted by criminals,” Mr Hay said.

The former cop suggests online daters do a Google reverse image search on pictures provided by those they meet online – to check the user hasn’t stolen the image from elsewhere.

And he also advises against adding too much information about yourself.

The former cop said online dating was likely to become more complex
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(Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Doing so provides an opportunity for scammers to create a profile that makes users believe their potential love interest is a perfect match, he said.

Mr Hay also said engaging in video communication early on has historically been a good way to validate who a user is – but this may not be true for much longer.

He said: “We will (eventually) see criminals adopt AI, deep-fake videos to actually start imitating the picture they put out there and we will see them use AI to develop target profiles.

Reports of dating scams are on the up in the UK and elsewhere across the world

“So they’ll scan the web and the platforms looking for the right person and the AI ​​will tell them this entity here should be targeted with this methodology using these techniques to increase their success rate.”

This kind of scamming was going to get “more complex”, he said, and as a result, scammers would be more successful.

Mr Hay said that in recent times, there had been an increase in the number of romance scam reports.

While this could, in part, be due to the reporting rate having risen, he said it was likely there had been a rise in crime as a result of the Covid pandemic.

According to data from action fraudUK individuals were victims to 8957 dating scams between 1st Jan 2021 to 1st Jan 2022.

Collectively, this is believed to have cost them over £96.8 million pounds.

This marked a significant rise on the previous year, with the data showing that there were only 644 reports of dating scams between 1st Jan 2020 to 1st Jan 2021.

This was thought to have cost their victims over £5.4 million.

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