PORTLAND, Ore. (KTVZ) — This week, the Oregon FBI’s Tech Tuesday segment focuses on building a digital defense against dating scams targeting the LGBTQ+ community.
Last week, we talked about romance scams where the bad actor tries to get online dates to invest in fake cryptocurrency opportunities.
This week, a warning from our partners at the Federal Trade Commission about people being targeted on dating apps that cater to the LGBTQ+ community.
These aren’t your typical I-love-you, please-send-money romance scams. They are extortion scams.
They usually work something like this: a scammer poses as a potential romantic partner, chats with the victim, quickly sends explicit photos, and asks for similar photos in return. If the victim sends photos, the blackmail begins.
The extortionist threatens to share your conversation and photos with your friends, family, or employer unless you pay — usually by gift card. To make their threats more credible, these scammers will tell you the names of exactly who they plan to contact if you don’t pay up. This is information scammers can easily find online by using your phone number or your social media profile.
Some of these bad actors threaten people who are not yet fully out as LGBTQ+. They may pressure you to pay up or be outed, claiming they’ll “ruin your life” by exposing explicit photos or conversations.
Whatever their angle, they’re after one thing — your money.