It’s Pride month and maybe you’re trying to meet someone on an LGBTQ+ dating app. The FTC is hearing about scams targeting people on LGBTQ+ dating apps, like Grindr and Feeld. And they’re not typical I-love-you, please send money types romance scams. These are extortion scams.
They usually work like this: a scammer poses as a potential romantic partner on an LGBTQ+ dating app, chats with you, quickly sends explicit photos, and asks for similar photos in return. If you send photos, the blackmail begins. They threaten to share your chat and photos with your friends, family or employer unless you pay – usually by gift card.
Other scammers threaten people who are “locked in” or not yet fully “outcast” as LGBTQ+. They may pressure you to pay or be exposed, claiming they will “ruin your life” by exposing explicit photos or conversations.
Whatever their angle, they are only looking for one thing: your money.
Here’s what to do:
- Don’t share personal information with someone you just met on a dating app. This includes your mobile phone number, email address and social media profile.
- Check who you are talking to. Do a reverse image search on the person’s profile picture to see if it’s associated with another name or mismatched details – these are signs of a scam.
- Don’t pay scammers to destroy photos or conversations. There is no guarantee that they will.
In fact, the The FBI advises against payment of extortion demands, which could support criminal activity. And remember, once you’ve shared photos, you can’t take them back.
If you spot a scam, report it to the FTC at ReportFraud.ftc.gov. And please share what you know with others during #CelebratePride2022.