Dallas – It shouldn’t be news to anyone that Grindr and similar apps can be dangerous with men being attacked and robbed. But the app is being used to target gay men in other, perhaps less violent but no less damaging ways as well. Dallas attorney Adam Swartz has warned of scammers using Grindr to target gay men and extort money by later claiming to be underage and threatening to turn the men into police. Swartz said a client had contacted him “in an absolute panic. He told me, ‘I don’t know what to do. I just gave these people $800. I think I made a huge mistake.’”

Swartz’s client had communicated through Grindr with someone who said he was 20 years old and had a girlfriend, so he had to be “discreet.” After the two had exchanged photos, however, the client was quickly contacted via text and by phone by a woman claiming to be the young man’s mother, who told the client that her son was in fact a 15-year-old high school student who had just gotten caught showing friends at school the nude photos the client had sent him on Grindr. “He sent me a nude photo supposedly of himself. I stupidly sent him two nude photos of me, one that showed my face,” the client told Dallas Voice. Even more frightening, the client said, was the fact that the woman knew everything about him.” She had photos, knew where he lived, where he worked and the names of two of his three sisters and where they lived. She threatened to show the nude photos and the Grindr conversations to his family and his boss. “I thought I was talking to a 20-year-old guy. I had no reason to think I was dealing with some underage kid.”

Grindr’s terms of use require users to be at least 18 years old.

Swartz said he warned the scammers that they were guilty of fraud trying to scam money from his client. But the woman was persistent, and when she didn’t stop calling or texting, he started asking very direct questions, such as what school her son had attended. At that point the calls and the texts stopped, but the scammers had one more trick. A very tall young man who appeared to be in his 20s approached him outside of his job and said, “[m]y mom and I have come to collect the extra $400 you owe us.” The client told him he could contact his lawyer but he wasn’t paying him any more money. Swartz said, the first thing to do, he continued, is to “call your attorney…. and completely disengage with those folks. Ignore them, and under no circumstances should you hand over any money. (Dallas Voice – Tammye Nash at Dallasvoice.com/its-a-trap-10255032.html)

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