Now Reading
Man scammed by fake sugar daddy on Grindr, can’t report identity theft due to US government shutdown

Man scammed by fake sugar daddy on Grindr, can’t report identity theft due to US government shutdown

Due to the ongoing US government shutdown, victims of identity theft cannot report the scams to the FTC

A man was scammed by a fake sugar daddy on dating app Grindr. Unfortunately, due to the ongoing shutdown of the United States government, he is unable to report the fraud.

What happened?

On New Year’s Eve, 23-year-old Dalton Tannehill began chatting with a man named James on Grindr, BuzzFeed News reports.

James claimed to be a sugar daddy who could help Tannehill pay off his credit card debt. After some convincing, Tannehill provided James with his social security number and bank login information. However, the sugar daddy ended up being a scammer. By the time Tannehill realized this, he immediately called his bank and attempted to file an identity theft report with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). However, due to the partial shutdown of the government, he was unable to do so.

Over text message, James promised to pay Tannehill’s bills and requested his credit score. When Tannehill said he couldn’t provide a screenshot of his credit report, James responded saying, ‘I’m gonna be taking care of all your responsibilities from now on baby.’ He then asked for Tannehill’s social security number, followed by his bank details. To show trust, James wired over $2,480 [£1,929.66; €2,162.25] to cover Tannehill’s outstanding credit card debt.

Text messages between James and Tannehill
Text messages between James and Tannehill BuzzFeed News

‘Before the payment was processed, I was obviously suspicious. And when [it processed], I felt, “Okay, good. This is legit. I actually have a real and legitimate sugar daddy!”’ Tannehill told BuzzFeed News.

So, Tannehill took James’s advice and applied for more credit cards. ‘I felt he did me this favor — I might as well spend at least $1,000 to be paid back again. No worries, I assumed, since the payment went through the first time,’ he said.

Google Play gift cards

Big box retailer Walmart approved Tannehill’s application. At James’s request, Tannehill purchased $1,000 [£778.09; €871.88] in Google Play Store gift cards. Tannehill sent James the codes on the back, and James promised to reimburse the money.

Tannehill's bank statement, showing James's deposit and the Google Play gift card purchases
Tannehill’s bank statement, showing James’s deposit and the Google Play gift card purchases BuzzFeed News

Realizing the scam

James soon became agitated when Tannehill didn’t respond to him quickly enough and sent multiple texts. This is when Tannehill suspected he had been scammed.

The next day, Tannehill blocked James’s phone number. According to bank statements reviewed by BuzzFeed News, the money originally given to Tannehill by James was retracted from the account days later.

‘I just realized I needed to block him and cut off all communication, and report this as soon as I possibly could, whenever this shutdown ends, or any other way,’ Tannehill said.

Government Shutdown

Tannehill took to Twitter after this whole ordeal to criticize President Trump’s government shutdown.

Since Tannehill is unable to report the fraud to the government, he is using social media to ‘out’ his scammer.

Anything else?

According to the FTC, identity theft was the second-most reported consumer complaint in 2017. Credit card fraud, the most common form of identity theft, rose by 23% from the previous year. Currently, the websites and, where one would go to report fraud, redirect to a note that says, ‘Due to the government shutdown, we are unable to offer this website service at this time. We will resume normal operations when the government is funded.’