How San Diego and visitors can protect themselves from scams during Pride

San Diego's Pride celebrations reach a peak this weekend

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NBC 7’s Claudia Simonés shares insights on the precautions to take when coming across investment and romance scams during Pride events.

Members of the LGBTQ+ community continue to be the victims of scams across the country. Now consumer advocates and federal officials are sending out a warning to protect one of the most vulnerable communities from being preyed upon by criminals. 

Many times, out of shame, victims do not report when they’ve fallen victim to a scam. The Federal Trade Commission hopes that consumers, especially members of the LGBTQ+ community, can feel safe and come forward.

While June is LGBTQ+ Pride month in many areas, the celebrations in San Diego are in July, when an emphasis is made on awareness for community members who may be targeted for fraud.

“You get an offer — if it seems too good to be true, whether that's an offer of a date or a financial deal, if it seems too good to be true, it probably is,” said Benjamin Nicholls, executive director for Hillcrest Business Association.  

Nicholls added that one scam targets prospective investors. For example, victims are offered promises of being made millionaires but, in reality, they're approached for the purposes of theft. 

Romance scams seem to be the most common, however. These are typically initiated on dating apps, with impostors pretending to fall in love with victims, who are asked for intimate pictures, then threatened with exposure to family and friends if the victims don't pay. 

“Hiding is never an option," Nicholls said. "Going to your peer group, going to your friend group — that's where you’ll find reassurance."

The Hillcrest Business Association warns that people should be alert in general at all times during large public events like Pride. They said they have received multiple complaints at different establishments where customers have reported their cell phones stolen. 

“Is someone putting something in your drink?" Nicholls said. "That's something to keep an eye out for during this pride season.”  

How can people protect themselves?

  • Analyze the situation before acting and gather as much information as possible 
  • Protect your identity
  • Do not send compromising photographs if you do not really know the person on the other side of the phone personally
  • Have your first date in a safe place
  • Check your belongings

If you were a victim of fraud, report it immediately to the authorities and by visiting the official website of the Federal Trade Commission

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