There’s a number of reports warning South African men using dating apps, such as Grindr, to be vigilant of an individual allegedly extorting users for profit.
According to MambaOnline, a man is luring men and blackmailing them on Grindr and threatening to share their intimate photos with their employers unless he is receives a payment.
The alleged extorter operates using the profile of a white bald male, who after engaging his victims into a false sense of security, pressures them into sending him their nude and explicit photos of themselves, but then demands that cash is paid into his account to prevent their pictures from being shared online or sent to people they know.
“I’m sure your employer [employer’s name redacted] would be shocked if they would have to receive an email with pics of…. your c**k and a** and dirty msg from Grindr tomorrow morning when they get to work,” reads a captured screenshot message from the blackmailer shared by MambaOnline.
Coercing the victim to send him “R1500 to my cell nr [number redacted], 20 min”.
Dating apps are a common way for criminals to lure unsuspecting gay and bisexual men into situations where they are unsafe and are robbed, physically attacked or elicited for cash.
Some of these cases have even resulted in murders. In May 2018, a 28-year-old unnamed Johannesburg man went to a flat in Sunnyside on Easter Sunday to meet an individual, when he found himself trapped by the man and his three accomplices who allegedly stripped him naked.
Similarly, November 2017, a Pretoria man was held hostage, beaten and robbed after arranging to meet with an online date. The victims said that the man who operated under the alias Matter1 groomed him for two months before arranging a meet where he was ambushed by a gang of five men that assaulted him and held him captive for more than two hours.
Those who have fallen victim to this kind of assault are urged to report the profile to the dating app. It is also recommended that the incident be reported to the police.