Grindr is committed to creating a safe and authentic environment free of scammers, fake accounts, and spam. We have protocols in place to detect and remove these accounts, including proactive machine learning models, text and image hash detection and blocking, and a dedicated moderation team, working 24/7 that blocks illicit content and responds to user flags and reports.
That said, scamming is an entire industry, based on scammers’ ability to quickly adapt to our measures. Social media and dating apps are a prime target for these bad actors, as scammers seek to exploit people looking to make meaningful connections. While we detect and block a huge amount of these accounts that you will never see as a user, some still get through.
The best protection is education. We’ve compiled a list of common scams to help you spot and avoid them. There may be overlap between different types of scams, and any individual scamming scheme may exhibit components of multiple different types of scams. While this list isn’t exhaustive, we hope it’s helpful.
If you ever have questions about a message you’ve received or encounter a profile that looks suspicious, please report the profile in-app or reach out to our support team here.
General scam tips
Trust your instincts.
Scammers know the kinds of things that people are looking for - whether it’s love, sex, money, camaraderie, or something else - and use that to exploit people by offering things that are hard to resist. Always be cautious, do your own research, and trust your instincts. If a scenario seems too good to be true or feels suspicious, it probably is.
Don’t send money.
Be wary of anyone who asks you to send money to them (or someone else) or asks you to pay in order to interact with them. This includes signing up for third party platforms or services and investment platforms. Remember that these may appear legitimate. For investments, look for reviews from a reputable independent organization. Do not follow suspicious links, and do your own research.
Don’t share info too quickly.
Be cautious of who you give your contact information to, especially if you are sending them nudes or exchanging any kind of content (including chats) that you wouldn’t want others to see. Scammers can discover your identity (name, location, contacts, employer, family members, etc) from a phone number or social media, and use that information to threaten you.
Be wary of anyone who tries to communicate outside of the Grindr app immediately. Scammers know they will be banned on Grindr quickly, so they often try to move to email, text, etc. right away.
If someone asks you to give them a verification code, or you receive a verification code via text or email that you did not request, you should assume it’s a scam. Do not give these codes to anyone.
Do your own research.
Check the country code on phone numbers that other people give you. Sometimes scammers will give out phone numbers with country codes that don’t match their claimed location. You can also look up phone numbers to see whether they are VoIP or mobile numbers.
If someone is asking you for social media links or info, ask for theirs too. See if you have any friends in common, if the account has been around a long time, if it seems to have legitimate friends or followers, etc.
Romance scam or “Lonely heart scam”
- The scammer will win your trust by telling you a story about themselves that makes them seem reliable. For example, they may claim to be in the military or a doctor or business person working overseas. Common industries that scammers claim to work in are construction, trade, and dealing with gemstones. Sometimes they claim to work for an NGO.
- They will often emphasize how honest and trustworthy they are, and how they are looking for the same in another person because they have been hurt by others before. They tend to come on strong about romantic intent very quickly, and can be very pushy and insistent. They may become defensive, aggressive, or manipulative if you question them or express hesitancy.
- They will often claim that age and distance don’t matter at all to them, and will often have a complicated backstory about who they are, where they are from, and where they are now. The complicated backstory is intended to dismiss any questions you may have about their location and the fact that their language patterns may not match those typical of a person from the location they are claiming to be from.
- Once they have your trust, they will tell you a story about how they need money. For example, they’re stuck in a foreign country and need someone to deposit a check for them and transfer the money. They may also ask you to send money via Western Union or other money transfer services, or buy gift cards.
- They will often ask for your contact info right away and try to continue the conversation off the Grindr’s app, because they know they will get banned here quickly.
- Never send anyone money, for any reason.
- If a story sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
- Use Grindr’s messaging system until you have established trust.
- See the information and tips on sugar daddy scams also listed in this guide, as both scams are often perpetrated by the same group of scammers and will share similar characteristics.
- Helpful resource: FTC - What You Need To Know About Romance Scams
Sugar daddy scam
- The scammer will claim to be a sugar daddy who wants to send you an allowance in exchange for some type of interaction, usually sending nudes, often with very specific dollar amounts and wanting to connect via Cash App, Venmo, or other payment service right away. They will also sometimes offer to pay by check.
- After promising to send you a large amount of money, they may tell you that a previous sugar baby betrayed them. This is how they’ll justify asking you to send them a smaller amount of money first, in order to prove your loyalty.
- The scammer may also connect stolen credit cards to Venmo or Cash App and use them to transfer the allowance to you. They’ll then say that they accidentally sent you too much money, and ask you to return a portion of it. If you do that, the scammer will have deleted the stolen card info from their account and added their own – so the “refund” goes to their own card instead of the stolen one. Eventually, if the stolen card is reported to Venmo or Cash App, any money that was stolen from that card will be returned, so you’ll be out the “free money,” and the scammer will have yours instead.
- Recently, some sugar daddy scammers have been using nudes or other content and information that people send them to attempt to blackmail their victims. They may threaten to share your nudes or chats with your contacts, family, or employer if you don’t send them money. In some cases they may also demand that you create Grindr accounts for them and give them the login credentials. They may also demand the login credentials to your existing accounts, which they will then use as scam accounts (see below section on “Sextortion/ Blackmail” scams).
"Hello I'll cater for your needs as your sugar daddy text me on telegram now if you are interested"
"wow u look cute & interesting I Will like to have u as my baby u Will be paid $10000 if u accept to be my baby add me up on WhatsApp @ [insert scam number here]."
- "Hola querida, miro tu perfil, me gustas ❤️ Quiero que seas mi sugar baby, prometo hacerte feliz. Te pagaré $ 5000 mensuales y te follaré cinco veces al día 🍑🍆❤️ si eres real. y los interesados me envían un mensaje de texto en Whatsapp +[número falso]"
- "Olá meu amor como você está hoje eu sou um sugar daddy e eu adoraria colocar $ 20.000 como sua mesada semanal. Me mande uma mensagem no meu WhatsApp se você estiver interessado. [número falso]"
- If it seems too good to be true, it is. It’s very unlikely that someone would pay a large sum of money in return for nudes or chatting and nothing more.
- Scammers can discover your identity (ie, name, location, contacts, employer, family members, etc.) from information that you give them, such as your phone number or social media, and use that information to threaten you. Be cautious of who you give your contact information to, especially if you are sending them nudes or exchanging any kind of content -including chats- that you wouldn’t want others to see.
- Check the country code on phone numbers that other people give you. Sometimes scammers will give out phone numbers with country codes that don’t match their claimed location. You can also look up phone numbers to see whether they are VoIP or mobile numbers.
Sextortion / Blackmail scam
Sextortion is a term for when someone threatens to distribute your sexual content or other private and sensitive material if you don’t give them what they want. There are two common scenarios:
- Skype/video sextortion: The scammer asks you to connect on Skype, Facebook, Instagram, Whatsapp, or other social media. The scammer will ask for Skype sex calls or nudes, often using fake/pre-recorded video so you never actually see the person behind the scam. The scammer secretly records the intimate video conversation, or saves nudes or screenshots sex chats, and then threatens to send the content to your social media contacts if you don’t pay them money. These scammers often specifically target people who are married or looking for discreet interactions.
- Underage sextortion: The scammer sends intimate photos and asks you to do the same, or initiates a sexual conversation. After photos and messages are exchanged, the scammer later claims to be underage. You are then contacted by the “parents” who state that if you pay their demand for money, they will not go to the police. Note: Grindr is for adults ONLY. Users must be at least 18 to use the app (or older in certain jurisdictions). We take any potential underage use of the platform incredibly seriously. If you come across anyone who appears to be underage, please contact us and report the profile.
- Discreet/married blackmail scam: In this scam, the scammer seeks out people who are looking for discreet encounters and who do not want their usage of Grindr to be known by others close to them. Often, they will pretend to be in a situation similar to yours, in order to gain your trust. They figure out your identity from information that you give them (ie, phone number, social media, etc.) and then threaten to share your chats and nudes with your contacts if you don’t send them money.
- Be cautious of who you give your contact information to, especially if you are sending them nudes. Scammers can discover your identity (ie, name, location, contacts, employer, family members, etc.) from information that you give them, such as your phone number or social media, and use that information to threaten you.
- If you are receiving "sextortion" threats, you are not alone. It is likely the perpetrator is an adult pretending to be a teenager, and you are just one of the many victims being targeted by the same person.
- Never send compromising images of yourself to anyone, no matter who they are (or say they are).
- Do not give them any money or send any more pictures of yourself. Giving into demands may make things worse, as paying a blackmailer will only result in more demands for payment.
- Do not be afraid to call the FBI (if you’re in the US) or your local authorities to report the scam.
- The scammer will claim to work for a bank, crypto investment firm, or other financial services company. They may also say that they are a day trader or that they invest as a hobby. In some cases these scammers are straightforward and ask for money very quickly. In other cases they may run a longer con, similar to a romance scam, and may encourage you to invest money for your future together or because they care about you and want to help you earn money.
- The scammer may try to move off of Grindr very quickly, usually asking you to message them on a messaging app such as WeChat, Whatsapp, or Line. In some cases, they may also make conversation on Grindr for a while to gain your trust before moving off-app.
- They will ask you to invest money, claiming that you will get a large return on the investment. Once you have sent enough money, the scammer cuts off contact.
- There are some investment scams that use the term “money flipping,” and a claim that you can turn $100 into $1000, $500 into $5000, etc. These scammers often claim to work at a bank or Western Union, or they may claim that they will invest the money for you. In some cases, scammers that ask you to “flip” money will initially offer an exchange with a smaller amount and give you a small return to gain your trust and get you to send a larger amount of money.
- The scammer may transfer money into your bank account, saying that you can keep a percentage of it, and request that you either transfer the rest to another bank account owned by the scammer or buy a prepaid debit card and share the info with the scammer. The money sent to your bank account will be considered by your bank to be a fraudulent transfer, which you are liable for paying back.
- Alternatively, they may attempt to get you to buy fake investments or crypto currency, usually via a link that they’ll send you or a fake investment platform that they tell you to search for. This will just deposit money straight to them, and isn’t an actual investment in anything. The scam investment platforms often look very legitimate, even going so far as to appear to offer live customer support. In some cases after you send money, the scammers will manipulate your account balance to make it appear as if you are making money so that you “invest” even more. Eventually they will cut off contact and disappear with your money.
- There is no such thing as “free money.”
- Don’t ever share your own financial information, even if it is to receive money.
- Don’t open a bank or investment account for someone else.
- Do your own research on investments - legitimate investors aren’t going to share their prized recommendations with random people on Grindr.
- Investment scams are perpetuated by scam groups from all over the world and will have different presentations, depending on the specific scam and location it originates from.
- The scammer will agree to meet or interact with you, but will first ask you to send money, pay for something upfront, or sign up for a service before you meet.
- The request could be for a gift card to keep their kids entertained while you meet up, money for gas or a taxi/rideshare, a membership on another app or platform, etc.
- They will insist that you send them the money/ gift card or sign up for the service right away. They will then give you a false address or location and will not meet up with you.
- This type of scam can present as many different personas. A few examples are: people looking for an in-person hook up, sex workers asking for payment up front, BDSM related personas, massage therapists, people hosting parties and events or group sex activities
- Do not send anyone money or gift cards.
- Be very suspicious of anyone trying to turn a meet-up into a transaction.
- Do not input credit card information on third party platforms or register for paid third party services or subscriptions at another person’s insistence
Security app registration scam
These scams are designed to get your personal and financial details by asking you to register with a third-party site claiming to be a “security app,” which is actually fake. The scammer often claims that they were previously assaulted by someone they met on an app and that the registration is to ensure their safety. These scammers sometimes partially appropriate the names of real organizations in order to appear more legitimate.
- “Before we meet I need to make sure I am safe with you, is it fine with you, Can you add me on (MAFA meet and fun affairs) on google?”
- “Before we can meet or maybe fun? I need to make sure I am safe with you, is that ok? Can you do the MMRM verification first? You can search it on google "MMRM meetmyrightmate" Is it fine with you ?”
- “But before we meet I need to make sure I am safe with you, is that ok? Can you add me on (EASY AND WELL VERIFIED)”
- Do not register on a “security app” without doing your own research
- Do not trust anyone who tries to get you to follow links or go to another site quickly.
Scammers asking for verification codes
Some scammers will try to trick you into allowing them to use your phone number to register or SMS verify accounts on Grindr or other apps. They will ask for your phone number and then claim they sent you a code. They’ll ask you to send them the code that you received in order to prove that you are real. These codes are actually SMS verification codes for apps, and if you send them the code they will use your phone number to register scam accounts on Grindr and other apps, which can result in your number being banned on these platforms and your personal information being associated with scam accounts. If they have additional personal information about you, such as your name or email address, there is a risk that they could use this scheme to gain access to personal accounts of yours that rely on SMS verification to reset passwords.
- If someone asks you to give them a verification code, or you receive a verification code via text or email that you did not request, you should assume it’s a scam. Do not give these codes to anyone.
Third-party app links
A common scammer method is to “spam,” or send mass messages with links to third-party sites. Generally, they know that it will be an obvious spam message to most people, but if they get only a small portion of people to click through, it’s worth their time. These messages will ask for payments or credit card information or send requests to search for a name that leads to a third- party site. These sites will often contain malware, bad ads, or will solicit your personal information or money.
- “Нi, We are having a sex p*rtу very soоn) Wоuld yоu like to jоin? Photos of раst сеlebrations hеrе (link)
- “google me” “mikeshown---”
- Don’t follow suspicious links.
- If a user asks you to Google them instead of providing info directly, it’s suspicious.
Grindr support message scam
The Grindr support team will never try to get you to go to a third-party site, or offer “free money”. Emails from our support team come from firstname.lastname@example.org or via the in-app help/contact section, not from a regular-looking account on Grindr.
- “Dear User, We are happy to notify you that you have been selected as the winner of the Grindr Premium Membership Award, You have won the sum of £300,000.00. For more information contact the claims manager.”
- “Hello. We have prepared for you an invitation to our very cool online sex show from Grindr. Follow this link. Best regards, technical support from Grindr !!!”
- Grindr will only ever contact you from official channels.
- Don’t follow suspicious links.
You can report a scammer profile to our Trust and Safety team here.