When Philadelphia artist Jaden Remy joined the private Facebook group “All Transmen Know Each Other,” he expected to find support and allies in the 1,000-plus members. He never expected that his identity and pictures would be stolen in an elaborate scam to sell prosthetic penises to other transgender men in the online group.
“This isn’t the first time this has happened,” says Remy; younger, oftentimes naive, members of trans community are often targeted for these types of scams. In this case, two fake Facebook users, “Jessie Sexton” and “Skylar Jace Collins,” used Remy’s pictures in an attempt to sell discounted FreeToM Prosthetics, a penis prosthetic, to unsuspecting trans men in the group.
The scammers posted a status update, posing as Remy, that included photos of the prosthetic penis in question. (You can see that NSFW image here.) The update read, "It's going to change the world. This is an amazing product every trans man needs to own. Message me for details."
When Remy reported the fraudulent activity to the Facebook's group administration he was banned and blocked from the group.
"The admin of the [All Transmen Know Each Other] group refused to remove the fraudulent person and interrogated me like I was the bad guy," says Remy. "I've been banned, despite other group members telling the administrator that my photos and identity were stolen."
Several members of the group fell victim to the scam, sending money via Western Union for what they thought were bargain prosthetics.
FTM Magazine, a publication that has featured Remy in previous issues, contacted the company owner of the real FreeToM Prosthetics, Dominic Attilano, about the scam. He issued the following statement:
"I created my company so guys like us can have a chance at having a great prosthetic. It saddens me that someone would try to use FreeToM Prosthetics to scam innocent trans men. I hope it doesn't affect anyone from working with us in the future. You are all important to me and to FreeTom Prosthetics and I will personally make sure that anyone who makes a purchase with us is treated with the respect they deserve.”
So far as Remy is concerned, he wants to make sure that no other individuals fall victim of the scam.
"I would never send anyone money through Western Union," he says. "If you're buying online, make sure it's through Paypal or a secure network and make sure that the website is legit."
And, of course, there's the basic rule of any online engagement: If it's too good to be true, it probably is.