Ari Ezra Waldman, professor of law and computer science at Northeastern University, has spent three years studying dating platforms for gay men and interviewing hundreds of users. Waldman, who is gay, says he did it because it’s important to protect the gay community not only from enemies on the outside, but also from predators on the inside. The FTC warning was “overdue,” he adds.
Hostile local communities are among the reasons gay people turn to cyberspace dating, he says.
Waldman says LGBTQ + adults have the freedom to send graphic selfies and advice against victim blame. Still, he suggests users share graphic images only after they can trust the person they’re communicating with – and only on platforms that take steps to protect privacy. Waldman criticizes some, but not all LGBTQ + dating sites, for profiting from user data, including their HIV status.
Silent grindr on the number of complaints
Grindr, headquartered in West Hollywood, Calif., Declined to say how many sextortion complaints he had received. Instead, he issued a statement: “We are troubled and disappointed to hear of scams targeting the elderly, gay people or anyone else. Grindr is committed to maintaining an open platform for the LGBTQ + community… and we continually take steps to facilitate a safe experience.
The company also highlighted its Scam Awareness Guide, Holistic Safety Guideand safety tips.London-based Feeld did not respond to requests for comment.
Sextortion reported to AARP
The AARP’s Fraud Watch Network hotline, 877-908-3360, heard from sextortion victims on dating apps, including those for LGBTQ + adults. “All of them have an inherent risk of criminals hiding behind fake profiles to be stolen,” says Amy Nofziger, who oversees the hotline and urges daters not to share intimate photos with people they don’t know . “It may sound harmless and fun, but there are criminals out there who target people who are looking for lust and love. “
Before sharing, Nofziger recommends thinking about how you would feel if what you sent appeared on page 1 of your journal. “If you’re in doubt, don’t send it,” she said.
Tips from the FTC:
- Check who you are talking to. Do a reverse image search of the person’s photo. (You can use a site like images.google.com.) If the photo has another name or the details don’t match, it is a sign of a scam.
- Don’t share personal information like your cell phone number, email, or social media profile with someone you just met on an app.
- Don’t pay crooks to destroy photos or conversations; there is no guarantee that they will. The fbi do not toleratepay extortion requests online.
- Remember, once you share photos, you cannot get them back.
The FTC says that if you think someone is trying to extort you, report it to the agency and a local FBI office or the Internet Crime Complaint Center office, ic3.gov.