A “#hungandlegit” physiotherapist posing shirtless with a tub of protein powder appears to be offering naked massage sessions with “happy endings” on Grindr and Instagram—except it’s a scam.
Photos and videos of Dr. Scott Liptzin, a licensed physiotherapist in Hicksville, New York, and straight, married father of three, were stolen from his business Instagram account and used by scammers posing as erotic masseurs, including by a guy called “Cams” offering “a body-to-body naked session” that consists of “rimming,” “edging,” and “penetrating” through DMs on Instagram and the gay dating app Grindr.
Last month, a screenshot of an Instagram video of Liptzin treating one of his clients for a shoulder injury was used by Cams’ Grindr with the message, “I don’t want to make love. i want to rub my soul against yours and watch love make us. My Ultimate goal is to pleasure and satisfy you using my rubbing skill.”
Liptzin was nonplussed his pics were being used but sympathized with the people being scammed. “Thankfully it doesn’t affect the business, and my wife didn’t really care,” Liptzin told VICE News. “It gets me upset that somebody is copying my material for the wrong reasons.”
Over the past two years, Liptzin has been made aware of seven different accounts of erotic masseurs using his photos. He said some of the Instagram accounts using his pics have more likes and views than his original posts do. “Some had over 7,000 followers and a lot more likes and views,” Liptzin said. “It’s crazy.”
A screenshot from Cams' Grindr account using Liptzin's photos.
Liptzin is not the only one who’s had his photos ripped off. Grindr and Instagram users across North America, Europe, and Asia have reported being catfished for years by scammers peddling fake appointments for erotic massages using social media content from actual fitness models and physiotherapists.
In October 2020, Scottish Twitter user @furrycubbyfg posted screenshots of another scam account using an unknown man’s photos to sell fake erotic massages. The messages and responses in the screenshots are nearly identical to the correspondence with the scammer using Liptzin’s photos.
Typically, a scammer posing as a muscled masseur starts chatting up a Grindr user, luring them in with virile photos and videos. They direct the user to continue chatting with them on Instagram, and then ask them to enter their credit card details on a different website to prepay for a massage that never happens. Cams charged $50 for a 30-minute Nuru massage session, $80 for an hour, and $100 for 90 minutes, with an additional $3 reservation fee.
A few hours after VICE News notified Instagram’s parent company Meta of an active Instagram account using Liptzin’s photos, several Instagram accounts were reviewed and disabled for violating the company’s authenticity policies, according to a Meta spokesperson. “We have various systems in place that help us catch and remove suspicious activity before it is reported,” the spokesperson said. “It is an ongoing effort that we’re committed to continuously improving over time.”
Within the first three months of 2022, a spokesperson for Meta claims they have “actioned 1.6 billion fake accounts” on their platforms, mostly nabbed using AI specifically created “to proactively detect and remove fake accounts.” The company encourages users to report accounts that may be impersonating others within the Instagram app or through an online form, although Instagram users have long pointed out issues with this process.
A Grindr spokesperson asked for screenshots of the fake account so it could investigate and confirmed the platform had banned all of the accounts using Liptzin’s photos, including the one in question. “Grindr takes the privacy and safety of our users extremely seriously,” the spokesperson said in an email. “We encourage our users to report improper or illegal behavior either within the app or directly via email… and to report criminal allegations to local authorities.”
Liptzin said the scam accounts have sprung up so frequently that taking the time to get them removed is a waste of time.
“Instagram needs to get a better handle on all of the fake bots. It’s just got so out of control that it’s beyond anything they could do or care about at this point,” he said.
But Liptzin said he won’t let the scammers deter him from using Instagram.
“A lot of my clients have come through the massage work content I post; that’s how I create a lot of business,” he said. “It obviously works.”
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