The US Federal Commerce Fee (FTC) warns of extortion scammers focusing on the LGBTQ+ neighborhood through on-line courting apps corresponding to Grindr and Feeld.
Because the FTC revealed, the fraudsters would pose as potential romantic companions on LGBTQ+ courting apps, sending specific images and asking their targets to reciprocate.
In the event that they fall for the scammers’ tips, the victims might be blackmailed to pay a ransom, often in reward playing cards, below the specter of leaking the shared sexual imagery with their household, mates, or employers.
“To make their threats extra credible, these scammers will inform you the names of precisely who they plan to contact in the event you don’t pay up. That is info scammers can discover on-line by utilizing your telephone quantity or your social media profile,” the FTC said.
“Different scammers threaten people who find themselves ‘closeted’ or not but totally ‘out’ as LGBTQ+. They might stress you to pay up or be outed, claiming they’ll ‘spoil your life’ by exposing specific images or conversations.”
The FTC advises LGBTQ+ courting apps customers to keep away from sharing specific images except they’re positive who’s on the opposite finish of a chat or with folks they’ve simply met on-line.
Those that are actively utilizing such apps ought to take measures to defend themselves in opposition to such rip-off makes an attempt by:
- Testing who they’re speaking to. Do a reverse picture search of the particular person’s profile image to see if it’s related to one other title or with particulars that don’t match up – these are indicators of a rip-off.
- Not sharing private info with somebody you simply met on a courting app. That features your cellphone quantity, electronic mail deal with, and social media profile.
- Not paying scammers to destroy images or conversations. There’s no assure they’ll do it.
On-line courting platforms together with Grindr and Feeld have additionally warned their customers up to now to bear in mind that scammers would possibly goal them.
As an illustration, Grindr warns that “social media and courting apps are a primary goal for these dangerous actors, as scammers search to use folks seeking to make significant connections.”
Feeld also asks users to “at all times be aware whenever you share private particulars corresponding to your actual title, telephone quantity, deal with or every other private info” and “by no means observe via any cost requests from different members [..] as these might be makes an attempt at identification theft or monetary fraud.”
FBI warns of sextortion assault spike
This warning comes after the same one issued by the FBI Web Crime Grievance Heart (IC3) who has seen a massive increase in sextortion complaints since January 2021, resulting in monetary losses of over $8 million till the top of July.
The federal company stated it acquired greater than 16,000 sextortion complaints till July 31, nearly half of them from victims within the 20-39 age group.
“Most victims report the preliminary contact with the fraudster is mutual and made utilizing courting web sites and apps,” the FBI added.
These discovering themselves focused by sextortion scammers ought to cease interacting with the scammers, contact legislation enforcement, and file a grievance with the FBI IC3 instantly at www.ic3.gov.
The FBI additionally supplies recommendations on protecting yourself from extortion attacks:
- NEVER ship compromising photographs of your self to anybody, regardless of who they’re or who they are saying they’re.
- Don’t open attachments from folks you have no idea. Hyperlinks can secretly hack your digital gadgets utilizing malware to entry your personal information, images, and contacts or management your internet digital camera and microphone with out your data.
- Flip off your digital gadgets and internet cameras when not in use.