Common scams & digital safety tips

While we’re working hard to increase safety measures on Lex, there’s always a risk when chatting with people in digital spaces, and it’s helpful to know what common scams look like. In this article, we’ll break down some common scams and share our go-to digital safety tips.

Common scams to watch for

1. Sugar parents

Sugar parent relationships (mommies, daddies, guardians) are types of relationships in which the ‘sugar parent’ and the ‘sugar baby’ establish an agreed-upon dynamic that involves financial support in exchange for various forms of intimacy. While this absolutely can exist between consenting adults, it’s critical to keep an eye out for false promises.

Watch out for red flags! Anytime someone offers to send you a large sum of money or asks you to send them money in return as a test of your loyalty, it’s safe to assume they’re a scammer.

2. Romance scams

So many of us turn to apps like Lex to find exciting romantic connections, and unfortunately there are bad actors out there ready to take advantage of that vulnerability.

Here are some common warning signs of a romance scammer:

  • They message you out of the blue, and might ask about things unrelated to your posts or profile
  • They want to quickly switch to talking on Whatsapp, texting, or another anonymous platform where their actions can’t be reviewed by moderators
  • They ask lots of personal questions about you, but won’t answer many about themselves. When they do talk about themselves, the facts don’t always line up
  • They try to establish bonds quickly and engage in love-bombing, saying they’ve never felt a connection like this before (even if you haven’t been talking for very long!)
  • They refuse to meet in person, Facetime, or share pictures; sometimes they say it’s because they live overseas or are in the military
  • They ask for financial support, saying they have no one else to turn to. Or they talk about money problems frequently in hopes that you’ll offer to support them

Some of these warning signs on their own might seem typical in queer dating & community, so keep your eye out if the red flags start adding up to something suspicious.

3. Event ticket scams

People often turn to social apps to seek out tickets for sold-out shows by their favorite artists, and unfortunately, there are folks out there who take advantage of these moments. Be wary of anyone who asks you to Venmo or CashApp them in exchange for tickets, as there’s a high potential they’ll vanish after receiving money and before you receive the goods you paid for.

We suggest you stick to marketplace apps for buying and selling items like tickets to make sure your purchases are secure.

4. Employment scams & fake checks

Someone online might promise you a new job opportunity, then ask you to deposit a check and transfer the money to someone else for business purposes.

If an opportunity like this comes your way,

  • Research the company and find the job listing online, and ask them to contact you from official company email addresses
  • Avoid trusting on-the-spot job offers, even for remote work

Generally speaking, a new employer would never send you a check that wasn’t your earned wage, nor would they ask you to transfer money - it’s highly likely the check is fraudulent. Much like the sugar parent scam, it’s safe to assume that any stranger sending you a large sum of money and asking for some in return is a scammer.

Digital safety tips

Here are a few of our safety tips for navigating the wonderful world of dating & meeting people online:

  • When you’re meeting up for the first time with someone, it’s a good idea to first meet up with them in a public space. Even if you’re meeting to hook up, consider meeting for a cup of coffee to make sure the vibes are right!
  • Always share your plans and whereabouts with someone you trust beforehand.
  • Don’t share credit card information or other personal information online - a real crush would never ask for this type of info!
  • If you’re looking to buy or sell tickets or other goods, stick to marketplace apps that are designed to support secure transactions.
  • Exercise caution when people you don’t know are asking you for financial support either via transfer or gift cards (and it feels different from a mutual aid request)
  • Be careful when people you’re talking to want to quickly switch to Whatsapp or texting, as this can be a red flag and a way for them to get access to your phone number.
  • If you receive a picture from someone you suspect is a scammer, try reverse Google-searching it to see if it comes up under another name! Here’s how.
  • Trust your instincts. If you suspect someone might be a scammer, report them!

If you’re ever feeling concerned about a bad actor on Lex, don’t hesitate to report them or reach out to us at support@thisislex.app.

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