LGBTQ+ community warned by FTC: extortionists abuse dating apps

Extortion scammers target the LGBTQ+ community on Feeld and Grindr dating applications

LGBTQ+ community targeted by the scammersSextortion scams go on the dating apps catered to LGBTQ

The Federal Trade Commission of the United States has issued a warning this week stating about scamming campaigns abusing online dating applications. Scammers use online dating platforms Grindr and Feeld to pose as romantic partners on there and trigger users to involve in sextortion incidents.[1] FTC warns that scammers pose as users and send explicit photos to targets, so they are asked to reciprocate too.[2]

The ones who fall for the scam are blackmailed into paying the ransom.[3] These campaigns are often involving gift cards that are untraceable. These scammers threaten users that their sexual images will get shared and leaked to their family, friends, or employers if the payment offer is not met.

These scams also include outing the person that is still closeted. This means that if the person is not confirmed his or her sexuality, the scammer will reveal that to the people closest to the victim. Scammers often list the names of those they will reach out to with the sexual imagery. Criminals focus on pressuring victims to pay up with claims about the explicit photo or conversation exposure.[4]

Spotting the extortion scam on dating apps

FTC advises the community using LGBTQ+ dating applications not to share their explicit photos with people meet online. If people are not 100% sure that users are who they say they are, these conversations of sexual nature should be held off. Such activities can be avoided if users:

  • check out who they are talking to – do a background check before going personal;
  • shares as little personal information with those random people as possible;
  • avoids paying any sum when blackmailed.

People can always do a reverse image search of the images that a person added to their profile. Names and other details can help find other profiles or Google about the person more. If those details and images do not match up on other social media and platforms – this is a scam.

Sharing personal details with ransom users on dating apps like email addresses, cell phone numbers, social media profiles or details about the workplace can lead to more information obtained about you without your knowledge or permission. These scammers can stalk your accounts and family that is already linked on social media to get more details about your loved ones.

Warning about the extortion scams and becoming a target

These dating platforms can lead to various issues, and extortion scams are easily abused by criminals. Grindr platform has already warned[5] users about social media and dating applications being a target for these bad actors. Scammers seek to exploit people looking for love and meaningful connections.

Often people are naive and desperate for love, so red flags get overlooked. Feeld also always warns people about personal detail sharing and exchanging phone numbers or full names, addresses, and personal information.

These sextortion attacks were more popular before and involved celebrities. However, recent spikes show that online romance scams cause Americans alone to lose hundreds of millions in 2021 alone. FBI Internet Crime Complaint Center received many sextortion-related complaints in 2021 that count to total $13.6 million in losses.

About the author
Ugnius Kiguolis
Ugnius Kiguolis - The mastermind

Ugnius Kiguolis is a professional malware analyst who is also the founder and the owner of 2-Spyware. At the moment, he takes over as Editor-in-chief.

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