Who are fake sugar daddies?
Fake sugar daddies and sugar mommas are scammers pretending to be rich people, willing to support a younger person financially in return for companionship. But their true goal is to swindle their victims out of money. They find their potential sugar babies on the internet by targeting young people who need financial support or desire a luxurious lifestyle.
In most cases, the scammer hides their true identity under a fake profile, so all communication remains online. They promise to cover your debts, pay you a weekly allowance, or simply spend money on you in return for a relationship. Having gained your trust, they proceed to trick you out of your money. But how do they do it?
How do sugar daddy scams work?
Sugar daddy scammers find their potential victims online and make them believe they will receive a lot of money. However, the sugar babies never get the money they were promised. Read on to find out what specific strategies, platforms and payment methods fake sugar daddies and mommas use to profit from young people.
How do sugar daddies operate?
These fraudsters usually take the same course of action that includes the steps listed below:
1. Contact you on social media. First, they create fake profiles on social media using other people’s photos to support the illusion of a wealthy lifestyle and hide their true identity. Second, they text many young women and men to offer them money in return for dates and other relationship benefits.
2. Earn your trust. Once they’ve struck up a conversation with you, they share their fake life story and try to learn as much about you as possible to make you feel like you are in a close and trusting relationship. They may also provide some proof as to how “real” their intentions are, for example, send you screenshots of previous transactions where they sent money to other sugar babies, pictures of them thanking the sugar daddy, and screenshots of their texts. However, this “proof” is also fabricated.
3. Ask for an upfront payment from their sugar baby. They promise to send you money, a huge amount, but ask you to pay them a smaller sum first, supposedly to validate your account or cover transaction fees. This payment is also meant to show them they can trust you — ironic, isn’t it?
A lot of the time they request money in the form of a gift card. You should treat it as a red flag because gift cards are one of the favorite means for fraudsters to clear money as it can hardly be traced back to them.
4. Make a fake transaction to the sugar baby’s account. There are two main ways these criminals pretend to transfer huge amounts of money to their sugar baby’s account: they either use a stolen credit card or a check that will bounce because there are not enough funds in the account.
As soon as the fraudster makes the transfer and the amount appears in the sugar baby’s account, they immediately ask for some of it back due to an emergency or a special occasion coming up. Let’s say the scammer transfers €5,000, then requests €100 back. Believing they’ve just been paid, the victim transfers the €100 without thinking twice. Unfortunately, when the stolen credit card is blocked and the bank cancels the initial payment (or when the fake check bounces), the victim ends up gaining nothing and losing €100.
They might also transfer you money and ask you to forward it to someone else but keep some for yourself. For example, you see €5,000 appear in your account. The scammer asks you to forward €4,500 to a different account and keep €500. They usually pressure you to do it quickly because they know the money will soon disappear from your account. In this case you lose the €4,500 because you transferred it from your own account.
5. They find out their sugar baby’s personal and financial information. Another way these swindlers profit from their sugar baby is by eliciting their personal information, login and credit card details, so that they can assume their victim’s digital identity online or take out a credit card in the victim’s name and max it out, leaving their victim in debt.
The most popular platforms used by sugar daddy scammers
It all begins with a sugar daddy or sugar momma finding a target on popular online platforms and websites. First, they create a profile on a social media site, dating app, or forum, filling it with fake photos and false information. Then they send the same message to a vast number of young people, offering financial gain for companionship, hoping that someone will bite the hook.
- Social media platforms: Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, Facebook. The scam begins with the swindler sending you a direct message on one of these platforms and similar ones. If you reply and they believe you are interested, they try to move the conversation to a messaging app, like WhatsApp.
- Dating apps: Tinder, Grindr. Sugar daddy scammers might approach you on dating apps because these platforms are the perfect hunting ground for those who pretend to be looking for a relationship.
- Forums and messaging apps: Reddit, Whatsapp, FB Messenger. Any social network or messaging app is fair game for these swindlers who need a broad pool of potential victims they could target.
Most commonly used payment methods
Authors of sugar daddy scams are known to prefer these payment methods:
- PayPal. PayPal scams are still very popular, so the fake sugar daddy might send you a screenshot of a pending transaction and promise to send the money as soon as you buy them a gift card or accept their request for a smaller amount.
- Cash App. The cash app scammer can send you a fraudulent payment and ask you to get them a gift card or pay them in some other way first. As soon as Cash App realizes you have stolen money in your account, they take it back.
- Google Play, Amazon. A fraudster may ask you to prove yourself by buying them a prepaid card for Google Play or Amazon.
- Cryptocurrencies. Scammers like receiving payment in cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin as these transactions are relatively difficult to trace.
How to spot sugar daddy and sugar momma scams?
Watch out for these red flags to avoid sugar daddy scams:
- They offer you money. No stranger will offer you money for nothing (or just an innocent online conversation), there is always a catch. Simply ignore such messages.
- They only DM you. They only want to text you directly and refuse to have a video call or meet in person, which means they are most likely not a real person.
- Their profile looks fake. They have very few (or no) friends or followers, they have zero posts, and their photos look generic and impersonal.
- They ask for money or gift cards. A real sugar daddy doesn’t need payments from their sugar baby. A fake sugar daddy, on the other hand, will swindle you the first chance they get.
- They ask you to provide personal information and credit card or bank account details. No one, not even a bank clerk, has the right to demand this information over a text on a messaging app, let alone someone you don’t know. Block them immediately.
What should you do if you’ve become a victim of a sugar daddy scam?
There are several steps you can take if you have fallen prey to a sugar daddy scammer:
- Report it to the FTC, FBI, the police, and the social media network where you met the fake sugar daddy. They can take action to track that person down and try to prevent further criminal activity.
- Document everything. You will need to provide proof of the scam to the law enforcement agencies to help them in their investigation. Save all of the messages, photos, and financial transaction data, and write down a detailed timeline of what happened.
- Inform your credit card company, block your card and bank account, and change your passwords, in case you provided information to the sugar daddy scammer.
In general, don’t trust any offer that sounds too good to be true and never share your personal information with people you don’t know.
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