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Some of the most provocative profiles on Grindr aren’t men at all, but spambots designed to lure credulous users into turning over their credit-card information.The links all point to questionable webcam sites with names like My Passion Pit, My Gay Cam Crush and Gay Slice Crush.Earlier this year, users of the popular gay hookup and dating app Grindr started seeing a sharp increase in the number of attractive men saying hello to them.Handsome, muscled, and stripped to the waist, the men introduced themselves with a handful of stock greetings.
The location-based app shows users only the hundred or so other users closest to them, theoretically making it difficult for spammers to target users outside their immediate vicinity.But the Grindr spambots manage to contact users from 6,000 to 7,000 miles away from the United States.By not requiring email addresses or passwords, Grindr makes it easy for spammers to open up unlimited instances of Grindr on their computers and not worry their activity will be traced back to them."It wouldn’t be too complicated to try to reverse-engineer the APIs they’re using and set up an app where you log into a server and say, ‘Show me everyone who’s in San Francisco,’" Strazzere said.
After dropping a link to those sites in a Grindr chat, the spambot ceases responding, except to ask why you haven’t joined him yet.
Users could be forgiven for assuming spambots wouldn’t be an issue in Grindr.