Though Grindr bots and impersonators are nothing new, they became personal for Rembrandt Duran over the past two months. After having a "sus" chat in BedStuy on the platform a few months ago, the sex-positive tweeter, known to his over 13,000 followers as @Remdelarem, said that catfish using his nudes have popped up all over the United States as well as in Australia, Spain, Croatia and the United Kingdom, attempting to scam Grindr users out of money.
"The thing wasn't even that someone like hit me up and enticed me," Duran told OUT in an interview last week. "It was just my dumb ass 'fool proof' method of hooking up with hot guys by sending nudes to any random hot person I see on Grindr that backfired on me." After tweeting about the incident, Grindr responded that they are "taking care of these profiles right this moment," but according to Duran, nothing has happened. Grindr has not responded to our request for comment.
To get exactly what happened, we hopped on the phone with Duran (who's also quite known for his matchmaking black book) to talk about his "fool-proof method" and what it's like being the face of catfish on Grindr.
Hey Remy, you've been on the internet forever, had you ever been catfished before this?
I actually haven't been getting catfished for a long time. Only once on Instagram about three years ago and it was really funny because three of my friends followed it thinking it was a side account for me [editor's note: Duran does operate one private Instagram account for friends] and I was like "Are you guys stupid? Why would you follow this account when you see me all the time?" And then once a few months ago and I was like "Wow, so I'm cool enough to be catfished on Grindr now."
So there's really been nothing until this recent spate of spam accounts?
Yeah, nothing until about two, maybe three months ago. I hit up this guy -- usually I have this really good way of hooking up with hot guys on Grindr. I look for ones where their bio insinuate that they're looking for like sex or an instant hookup. So I use that to gauge and hit them up and just say what's up and then send a few nudes and a selfie. Since I have Grindr Xtra I can send five at a time.
So I see this hot guy and so I do that and he's like "oh hot," and sends three pictures back. And then he says, "Oh, I don't know man you're hot but can you prove you're real? Can you send me a picture with one finger up?" I was like ok yeah, sure, and took a selfie with one finger up. So then he was like "That's cool but can you do one with two?" And so I'm like "Are you for real? I just did the first one."
He says, "Yeah but that's pretty common, you could have found that some where." So I sent the one with two. Then he asked me to sign up for this SSID thing and I said no. I thought it seemed sus and I really wasn't going to go through all that effort for a hookup. So he starts pleading with me and tells me this whole sob story about how he got beat up one time. I just told him I was sorry that happened but I really didn't care that much. Then he wanted to hook up anyway and I was just so tired of it I blocked him.
The "safe-for-work" images catfish have been using of Rembrandt Duran to scam Grindr users.
Wait so how do you know that's connected with these other accounts?
Well two weeks later someone said they got catfished with my pictures. A few days later someone else asked if another account was me, and it wasn't. They said he tricked them into sending money to prove they were real and not an LGBT abuser, and he took money out of their account. Then he sent the photo of me holding up two fingers and I was like "Oh, wow no way, the girls are scamming for real."
Where all have the accounts been turning up?
It's only been Grindr so far. I only have like seven or eight nudes and this guy has like a few of the good ones. But I'm kind of glad he's using my nudes instead of using someone else's dick that's smaller or bigger with my face. Like I don't want my face affiliated with some like trash ass nudes or wack dick. If I'm going to be the face of scammers, at least my dick is gorgeous. Or like if someone gets sent this bigger dick and when they finally see my dick they are like disappointed, no-no-no-no. Absolutely not.
It's a win-lose. Like, I'm so sorry you're being scammed but at least it's my actual nudes. There was one guy that got scammed and we started flirting after he DMed me so like maybe it will get me to hook up with a cute boy that I didn't even have to send my dick pic to because someone else did the work for me.
Has this made you change anything about how you're using Grindr?
I just have to be better about reading profiles that might be fake but I think it's more a lesson for Grindr than me. Obviously you want to cater to down low guys but there should be a way you can verify or something.
When they first started they were linking to my Instagram because all you have to do is put the URL in to connect your account on Grindr. But then I put in my bio "I'm in NYC right now if you see 'me' on grindr anywhere else it's a fake. Report it!," to let people know. I think they caught on though because they stopped putting the Instagram.
The craziest thing is that now that people know that there's a catfish out there sending around my nudes, people are like, "Oh I hope he shows up in my city." So now people are looking for this guy so they can get my nudes for free. [editor's note: from time to time, Duran has sold his nudes.]