Grindr/Scruff scam targets gay men in Salt Lake City

Many people know some of the dangers when using Grindr, Scruff, and similar apps as we hear stories of men being attacked or robbed. But the apps are now being used to extort money.

A Utah man called QSaltLake Magazine looking for a resource to help him after he received a threatening call demanding money.

The man had chatted with a user on Scruff who was purportedly 21 years of age, according to his profile. The two exchanged messages and photos on the app, and took their conversation to text messages, but did not meet.

The next morning, someone claiming to be the father of the person he was chatting with called the man and told him that he was actually chatting with his 15-year-old son. Further, he said, his son attempted suicide after the interactions and demanded payment for the hospital bills. He said he would go to the police and tell them he was exchanging sexual images and messages with a minor if he did not pay.

When the Utah man called QSaltLake, he was told to call Wharton O’Brien PLLC, a law firm that specializes in legal issues in Utah’s LGBTQ community.

Kyler O’Brien explained to him that this was a scam being seen across the country. He told him to block the profile on the Scruff app and, because the supposed “father” was texting to the point of harassment, to block the phone number that he was calling from, and completely disengage from the conversation.

This scam is being reported across the country, with some victims being approached in person with demands for payment.

Anyone in this situation should call an attorney. Any further contact with the scammer should be referred to the attorney and under no circumstance should the scammers be given any money without an attorney’s advice. 

Attorneys who work with the LGBTQ community can be found at qpages.com/cat/attorneys/.

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