Journal Logo

Doc ApprovED

Doc ApprovED

Reverse Image Search to the Rescue

Mohseni, Alex MD

doi: 10.1097/01.EEM.0000554296.56029.58
    scams, image search
    scams, image search:
    scams, image search

    This month's column is decidedly nonmedical, but it offers a few tips to make you more tech-savvy, find better shopping deals, and be less likely to fall prey to scams.

    I was recently looking for a bookkeeper to help me with some side projects, and while perusing the list of available bookkeepers online on Upwork, I noticed that one of the photos seemed a little too perfect, too much like a stock photo. Sensing a scam, I copied the person's picture from the Upwork posting and did a reverse image search on Google (click on the camera icon at I found the same picture on the blog of an Argentinian fashionista. Needless to say, I did not hire this person and filed a ticket with Upwork.

    The following week I was browsing Facebook when I saw an ad for an online clothing store going out of business and selling nice men's coats at a steep discount for around $120 with $300 crossed out. Smelling a rat, I clicked on the link to investigate. Almost all of these online pop-up stores are actually just drop-shipping productions. I copied the images of the coats from the website and opened the app for AliExpress, the drop-shipping counterpart of Alibaba, a wholesale version for Chinese goods similar to Amazon. I did a reverse image search on the AliExpress app (a built-in function), and found the exact same coat for $26. Drop-shippers take your $120, order the item for much less from the manufacturer in China, have it sent to you directly, and pocket the difference.

    With artificial intelligence tools for image detection becoming widely available, consumers are more empowered to avoid scams and bad deals. Soon we will be able to upload images of our patients' rashes and instantly get a hierarchical list of likely diagnoses.

    Share this article on Twitter and Facebook.

    Access the links in EMN by reading this on our website or in our free iPad app, both available at

    Comments? Write to us at [email protected].

    Dr. Mohseniis an emergency physician, telemedicine provider with CirrusMD, and the editor of his own blog, Follow him on Twitter@amohseni, and read his past EMN columns at

    Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. All rights reserved.