Blackmailers are breaking hearts on dating apps

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NASHVILLE, Tennessee (WKRN) – With millions of people using dating apps, some scammers are looking to cash in on the mystery surrounding the cyber world.

According to statistics from the Business of Apps website, in 2020, more than 270 million people used dating apps around the world.

The Better Business Bureau said it has seen an increase in the number of people claiming to be victims of a new type of dating scam – blackmail.

The BBB warns users of dating apps against sending revealing photos or videos. After sending a photo of themselves, the scammer then asks the victim to do the same. Once this photo is obtained, they use your phone number or social media profile to search for the names of people you know and threaten to contact them with those photos.

BBB said as reported by the FTC, this particular scam has circulated widely on dating apps common to the LGBTQ community, such as Grindr and Feeld.

In a BBB incident report, a victim said that after a compromising video call, a man and woman both started asking her for $ 3,000 or they would expose the video to her family and friends.

BBB wants to remind people that scammers often ask for payment by gift card or wire transfer, which cannot be traced and makes return impossible.

With this scam in particular, BBB said that scammers will likely continue to contact you asking for more money.

Here are some preventative steps people can take to avoid this kind of scam:

  • Never share your personal information with someone you just met. Don’t give out your cell phone number, home address, email address, or even your social media profile to a stranger. Wait until you know and trust someone, preferably when you’ve already met them in person.
  • Look for your love interest. A telltale sign that you are dealing with a con artist is a stolen profile picture. Perform a reverse image search of the person’s profile photo to make sure it’s not used under a different name or across multiple profiles.
  • Think before you send photos or videos. Once you send a photo or video, you cannot retrieve it. Keep in mind that even video calls can be recorded and use common sense to protect your reputation.
  • Don’t pay crooks money. Even if you pay them, you have no guarantee that the crooks won’t use the photos or videos anyway. In addition, your money could fund criminal activities.

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If you’ve been the victim of an extortion scam, report it to the FTC at ReportFraud.ftc.gov. Also submit a report to BBB.org/ScamTracker to raise awareness in the community and help others protect themselves.


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