i honestly have no idea what to do or say here since this situation was kinda sudden.
so i 19M recently downloaded tinder. i mentioned this to my cousin John (16M) and he seemed happy that i'm getting into dating. the next day, John tells me he got Grindr and met a sugar daddy that's 24 years old. this kinda weirded me out since he's too young to be on any dating app, especially since he's still technically a minor, but we're very close and trust that we know what each other are doing.
he told me he found a sugar daddy that has about $8000 cash and that he's willing to come meet him at a public place that happens to be near my house. he asked me if we can go because he thinks this man is going to give him money. i'm super hesitant to follow through not only because i'm super against meeting strangers from the internet, AND this man could totally be a predator. i went and reverse image searched his pics and found nothing, but that doesn't mean he isn't a catfish. this man told John that he's been cheated on by a sugar baby before and wants to verify that John isn't going to lie or cheat on him, so he wants John to prove that he's trustworthy by having John buy a $20 gift card and sending it to the Sugar daddy. John obviously doesn't work or have money, so he wants me to donate the $20 and says he'll pay me back since the Sugar daddy might pay him anyways.
to me, this sounds like an obvious scam but i want some opinions on this and advice on how to get John to realize that this guys is obviously just trying to scam him or do something worse.
I work for the police in a child sexual exploitation unit and have seen this countless times.
Every time I’ve seen it, it has been during the review of the Grindr/Chat app accounts – on the victim’s device, unrelated to the actual crime that has been committed. I stumble across it by chance, and it is very common.
The good news is that your cousin will lose his $20, but the 24yo guy will never show up to a meet. He’s probably not even in the same country. Gift cards can be used online.
The $20 will never come back, but the key points here:
- If this meet were to go ahead an you do not prevent it, you’re knowingly facilitating child sexual abuse. You are 19, and you are complicit in arranging for a 16yo to engage in sexual relations with a 24yo man for money. Do I really need to spell this out?
- As I said – I’ve come across these scams as a consequence of collateral intrusion, whereby I’ve been reviewing chat logs of abuse victims in order to identify and/or prosecute their abusers. This tells me that your cousin is putting himself at risk by pursuing these kind of arrangements. He is vulnerable, and he needs to be taken out of this situation.
- Consider how this will go if something bad happens to your cousin and the police need to review his device. Chat logs with you will be there too, and if we see that you gave him the $20 so that he could prove he’s not a catfish and then he got raped by a 24yo dude. How will you explain that to a judge & jury?
The people I’ve seen fall for these scams are typically the victims of child abuse, rape, revenge porn, and unfortunately worse.
Please try to get him out of this situation. I understand 16 might seem old enough and may be legal where you are, but when he’s putting himself in a vulnerable situation with 24+yo men – he needs to be very careful.
He definitely does this to every naive teenage boy that is won over by money to get gift cards. It’s common sense.
Your cousin wants you to help him meet a pedophile who’s going to abuse him for money??
Gross, shut that down before your cousin is a)broke and b) abused by paedophiles. Also there’s no way a guy who was going to drop 8k on a random kid is asking for a gift card to prove trust he wants your cousins money. This is a fairly common internet scam of I have money for you but you give me some first. If the kid is looking to date tell him to join some activities that get him out and meeting people around his age. If it’s a money thing help him look for a job.
Your cousin is an idiot. You know this.
Here’s an Article talking about it.