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Everyone knows “Tindering” – it’s become a part of our daily language, signifying the phenomenon that is online dating. It’s like a Kleenex or Band-Aid – such an integral part of everyday life that its language and brand have pierced their digital borders. A new phenomenon known as Tinder sextortion has been on the rise of late. For those who have already fallen victim to this sort of scam; we feel for you, and we are here to help you get through this difficult time. For the rest, it is still vitally important to understand how these scammers operate and to learn what steps you should take to prevent yourself from falling victim, to minimize risk on Tinder.
The self-descriptive term ‘sextortion’ is a combination of the words ‘sex’ and ‘extortion’. Sextortion is a serious crime in which perpetrators threaten to spread intimate or sensitive material unless their victims provide content of a sexual nature, physical favors, and/or money. This insidious form of extortion has devastating emotional and even material consequences for those targeted by it. A successful sextortion scheme requires that the scammer both uncover the real identity of their target and possess sensitive material that is used to blackmail the target. To achieve these ends, scammers have several tricks they will deploy, often going to great lengths to get the upper hand on their victims.
Depending on the level of rapport a scammer has with their victim, the method they use to uncover a target’s real identity may be social or technical. When it comes to Tinder, scammers will often create fake profiles with a set of images they may have found on Tinder, or elsewhere. Since scammers will typically use conventionally attractive aliases, they can quickly develop connections with their targets as the mark will most likely desire to become intimate with the depicted persona of the scammer. This can result in targets revealing personal information such as their full name, or social media handles, at which point the scammer will be able to acquire any information that is available about the victim online. There are many technical tricks scammers can use to acquire real-life details about their targets as well. Primary among these is what’s known as the ‘reverse-image search’, a Google function that allows web users to search the web via an image, and return other identical images across the web. With this technique, scammers can search the web using the profile pictures of Tinder users and uncover other links that house the same picture such as Facebook or LinkedIn.
We offer immediate, 24/7 assistance from our team of investigators.
To protect yourself from sextortion on Tinder, it’s essential to understand the red flags you should be looking out for, and what sort of privacy options are available to you online.
When it comes to matters of the heart, we don’t want you to give up hope – but it’s still important that you remain vigilant. We support having a healthy balance between believing in love and taking appropriate precautions with your relationships.
According to a 2015 study by the Crimes Against Children Research Center at UNH, the perpetrators of sextortion followed through on their threats in almost half of cases. Unfortunately, the threats made by scammers represent a real danger to their victims. If you are involved in an incident of sextortion or know someone who is, it is critical to know you are not alone, and help is available. Although this can be an extremely difficult emotional obstacle, know that you will get through this and be stronger for it. You can reach out to a close family member or friend for support, or contact our specialists at 888-210-1746 to work on your case. It is also vitally important to report the crime to the police so that they can continue to fight against these criminals. You can also contact the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC) at 1-800-THE-LOST (1-800-843-5678) if a minor is involved. If you or someone you know is in a life-threatening situation, call 988 for immediate help.
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