Sugarcoated Romance Scams: Sugar Daddies, Sugar Mamas, and Sugar Babies caught in a Web of Scams

“A young woman has admitted trying to blackmail a ‘sugar daddy’ during a sexual rendezvous at her mother’s house before he was attacked by two men with a tomahawk after a dispute over payment.”

So reads a recent story from the U.K. Not really the best date, but, what did this guy expect from a woman who openly stated in her dating profile that, “I enjoy the finer things in life….I will say I have expensive taste and love shopping. I like to live a party lifestyle with expensive dinners and spontaneous holidays.” Of course, she never explained that her idea of a party may include two guys with tomahawks, but you can’t mention everything in a dating profile, right? It might be just me, but it sure seems like she’s primarily interested in getting her hands on an easy source of income. But, on the dating site she joined, almost all the woman are pursuing something called, hypergamy, which the site defines as “the phenomenon of women prioritizing wealth or social status in mate selection.”

But this isn’t a one-way street. Women who join these so-called ‘sugar daddy’ sites want to find men with money and, for this, they will supply companionship. The extent of that companionship is negotiated between the two people involved. Wealthy men (sugar daddies) and wealthy women (sugar mamas) pay for the companionship of attractive, young people called sugar babies. Apparently, this is a trending thing because a number of these sites have sprung up in recent years. In fact, the most popular of these sites, Seeking Arrangement, claims to have over 10 million members.

So the general profile here is that of young women, often college students, who are willing to be companions of older, wealthy men because they either need money or want the finer things in life. This all seems a bit shady so the site makes a couple of things clear – or at least, they try to. First of all, they insist that “the Seeking.com Sugar Baby is NOT looking for pay-per-meet situations or transactional relationships.” Yeah, because there’s another name for that. They also want to make it clear that, “there is a big difference between those who are attracted to someone solely for their money (“gold diggers”), versus those who are attracted to the personality and nature of someone who is successful and wealthy.” Well, maybe in the ideal world.

In any event, the stage is set for a number of scams to be perpetrated and, from what I’ve been seeing on a number of scam reporting sites, these scams seem to be growing faster than actual relationships. Here are some of the main scams now making the rounds.

Scams Perpetrated by Sugar Daddies

 These are common, probably the most common, scams on these sites. The criminal sets up a free account with stolen personal information, possibly acquired through other hacks or from online information dumps. They connect this information with a photograph they probably got off of someone’s social media account. They used to use photographs of models but they now realize that these can be easily traced down. Gone are the days when they used photos of George Clooney. Good scammers will set up several fake social media accounts because they know the victim will be checking them out. They may, for example, have a fake Facebook account, but it will be recently set up and have little information. Having reported such fake accounts to Facebook in the past, I can tell you that they can persist for many months after they have been reported. This is because the Facebook algorithm will initially detect them as valid because they meet Facebook’s minimal requirements.

Once established, the predators begin to prowl for unsuspecting young woman or men. They are especially attracted to new members who, they hope, will be naïve enough to fall for their scam. They have done this all before and have learned from their mistakes. They know how to groom their victims.

To show their good intent, they will tell the victim that they will be sending a check to the victim’s bank account. The victim must then show their sincerity by using a portion of the money to buy gift cards and send their code numbers to him. Usually, the naïve victim doesn’t worry about this because it is only a small part of the money that appears in their account. The victim may even spend more of the money that is in the account. After all, what could possibly go wrong?

Here’s what goes wrong. The check may have been only temporarily cleared by the bank. Check clearance could take weeks. If money was deposited directly from another account, it may later be found that the account the money came from was not legitimate. In either case, the bank will eventually find that the deposit was fraudulent and the victim must repay any funds that they used. That’s when the Sugar Daddy disappears with the money he got from the gift cards. It is often the same time that his dating profile disappears.

Scammers may even wire money into a victim’s account and tell the victim they need to send some of it on to another account. Of course, victims are told they can keep a small amount of this money. In this case, the victim is being used as a money mule. If the victim gets the money but does not transfer the money to the other account quickly, the victim may be threatened in a number of ways. Here is an actual example from the reddit scam site.

threat

Other threats involve telling the sugar baby’s parents, friends, or business associates. If the sugar baby was stupid enough to have sent the scammer compromising photos to prove their sincerity, then these photos can be leveraged to make the victim continue to do whatever the scammer wants them to do.

Most women just getting started in the Sugar Daddy world may be contacted by a guy who says he is only interested in a long distance relationship and is willing to pay for it. If that sounds too good to be true, then… Often, scammers will hide behind the screen of living in another country. Commonly, men, purportedly working on oil rigs, will tell women they can’t have video meetings because the rigs don’t allow this. Other men are in the military. They also cannot video chat or meet. But they’re still willing to give these women money for companionship? Hmm. In all of these cases, women are being scammed and should realize that, in most cases, these are African-based hackers trying to use the emotional angle to scam them out of money. Financially, they are in no position to be sugar daddies.

Scams Perpetrated by Sugar Babies

Scammers will impersonate sugar babies to make money. That’s no surprise. Scammers will do anything to make money. They will pretend to be naïve young women, and, sometimes men, who are looking for support from rich men or women. In fact, they are, in all likelihood, men from Nigeria or Ghana. These two countries predominate in these kinds of scams, far out distancing third place Malaysia. In other words, the cute, young, female sugar baby you’re talking to may just be this guy; a convicted romance scammer.

scammer

Of course, these fake sugar babies aren’t going to send you a fake check. Their goal is for you to send them real money. Sadly, they will not be able to meet with you or video chat with you for obvious reasons.

Men are far more likely to be victims of blackmail or extortion. Often, they will meet a potential sugar baby online and get to know her. At some point, the sugar baby asks for compromising photos. When the man complies, he suddenly gets contacted by someone who purports to be the girl’s father. He claims the girl is under age and, if the sugar daddy doesn’t pay him some money, he will go to the police. How does the sugar daddy know if this is true or not? That’s a good question. Look what happened to Anthony Weiner.

There are a couple of variations on this blackmail scam. Sometimes the sugar baby claims they will contact the man’s spouse, if he has one, and tell her what’s been going on. At other times, they claim they will send the photos to the man’s boss, friends, family or contacts. It’s a tough situation because the man knows he sent her the pictures that she requested because he trusted her. My guess is that most of this type of crime is never reported.

There are more dangerous variations of this scam that are similar to the one given at the beginning of this post. A common one I’ve heard of recently occurs when a man is told to pick up his new sugar baby at a certain location. He is asked what kind of car he drives so that she can identify him. When the man arrives, she may or may not be there to meet him. He may be told to go to an apartment or house. In any event, as soon as he leaves his car, two guys appear and either rob him or take his car. He may be threatened with some form of retaliation if he reports the incident. Again, he may be blackmailed into keeping quiet in the way described above.

No doubt there are some couples who’ve managed to reach an acceptable arrangement through which both find benefits. I’ll leave these relationships to the psychologists. However, this is a landscape that is increasingly becoming a mine field. Scammers are using all the main social media sites to contact the unsuspecting. Recently, they have been using Instagram and Tinder to single out young women and men. Just keep one thing in mind. If you decide to walk down this sugary path, do so with great caution. There are not-so-sweet predators waiting to take a financial bite out of you.

 

 

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