Expose fraudulent sellers of purebred kittens with reverse image search

There are scamming (fraudulent) cat breeders on social media and other internet websites. It is usually social media sites where people claim to be breeders selling purebred cats of various breeds at high prices. These scammers operate by taking money up front and not delivering the kitten. They disappear off the radar after they’ve taken your money. How can you tell the scammers from the genuine seller/breeder?

The start of reverse image search.
The start of the reverse image search. Image: MikeB
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You can use ‘reverse image search’. I’ll explain what I mean. When a scammer tries to entice victims into their scam, they’ll use a picture of a beautiful purebred kitten. Very tempting.

You can do a reverse image search on that picture to verify if it comes from the breeder and nowhere else which would help to confirm the seller is genuine or the reverse image search will show that the picture is on several or many other websites. This will tell you that the image is in general circulation and it not a picture of a kitten from a breeder. In turn, this would confirm that the seller is a scammer.

The method is pretty straightforward even for those who are not technically-minded. Here is the process:

  1. Place your cursor over the image of the kitten or cat and right click. Select from the menu the following “copy image link” and left lick on it.
  2. Go to the ImgOps website: https://imgops.com/
  3. Put the mouse cursor in the URL box and right click and select paste. Left click on ‘paste’ which drops the URL of the image into the box.
  4. Click ‘start’ which takes you to the next page where there are options. You can hover the cursor over ‘google’ or ‘bing’ for example to see what they do. Click on them and you’ll see if the image is unique to the site where it was found or if it is all over the internet. If it is the latter it means that it is in general circulation and the seller is likely to me a scammer as they are not showing you a genuine picture of one of their kittens.

That should be pretty conclusive. Walk away if the image is in general use. You might like to query your findings with the seller. Ask some pertinent questions that are challenging and see the response. They are likely to go quiet which would confirm your finding that they are scammers.

The process simply helps find out if the picture of the cat or kitten being sold by the ‘seller’ is genuine or a generic pic plucked from the internet as a hook to real-in victims who are keen to adopt a purbred kitten.

People who are eager to adopt a beautiful purebred kitten or cat – and they can look stunning – are in a vulnerable position. They might be prone to dropping their guard and become incautious. Go slow and sleady and employ the reverse image search as a first tick box exercise to identify a scammer.

If it is inconclusive (unlikely) ask follow up questions to test them. But never send money up front unless you are certain the seller is genuine. Just don’t do it. This should be a general life-long motto in all areas of your personal finance. Good luck.

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