The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has issued a fresh warning to LGBTQ singles about the potential scammers and bad actors that they might encounter on dating platforms.
Romance scams are one of the most common types of online fraud, with over $300 million lost in the US during 2020. However, the risks that the LGBTQ community face are not just simply financial, they could also be targeted by blackmail and extortion scams.
Fraudsters can pose as potential romantic partners in order to obtain explicit messages and photos. They then threaten to leak the content to the victim’s loved ones unless they pay a ransom.
A statement from the FTC explained: “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 find online by using your phone number or your social media profile.
“Other scammers threaten people who are ‘closeted’ or 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.”
The three main pieces of advice were to do research about who they’re talking to, never give out personal information to people they just met, and to not give in to extortion demands.
It also advised people under the age of 25 to reach out to ‘The Trevor Project’ if they need counselling or general help. At the start of Pride Month, Taimi donated $25,000 to support its mission of helping LGBTQ youth.
Taimi’s COO Jake Vygnan published a blog post at the end of last week to address the mental health issues that adversely affect the community. Young people in the LGBTQ community are approximately 3.5 times more likely to attempt suicide than heterosexual individuals.
Read more here.