Wisconsin Better Business Bureau
Press Release

BBB Scam Alert: Romance scam dupes daters with the promise of a “sugar momma”

 

By - Apr 19th, 2021 07:02 am

Milwaukee, Wis. – If someone is offering money for nothing, there’s probably a catch, right? In this new twist on a romance scam, a con artist offers to become your “sugar momma” (or “sugar daddy”) and pay your bills. But according to recent BBB Scam Tracker reports, it’s really a way to trick victims out of money.

How the Scam Works:

You get a message through a dating or social media app from someone offering to be your “sugar momma” or “sugar daddy.” In exchange for your affections, they will pay you a “weekly allowance” of several hundred dollars. The offer sounds too good to be true, but your benefactor seems legitimate – at first.

The scammer sends you a check or pretends to transfer money into your bank account. They tell you to keep most of the money as your “weekly allowance” – after you do them a small favor. The scammer asks you to transfer part of the cash to their needy friend, pay an outstanding bill, or even make a donation to charity. One victim reported that the con artist wanted him to donate several thousand dollars of the money he received to an “orphanage.” Of course, the check or bank transfer was fake, and the “orphanage” was really just the scammer – or an associate – using a different name.

“I believed that these checks were legit and the funds were real,” one victim told BBB Scam Tracker. “I ended up just sending my own personal money to these contacts… Which ended up costing me $19,500.”

Watch out for other versions of this con too. Some victims report that the scammer claimed to need access to their bank account in order to deposit money. They ended up sharing their banking info with a con artist.

Protect Yourself From this Scam:

  • Know your rights and responsibilities when it comes to using checks. Banks will make the funds from a check available before the money is actually transferred into your account. If you spend the money and the check is fake, the bank has the right to recover the funds from you. Learn more about check scams.
  • Research your date first. Many scammers steal photos from the internet to use in their dating profiles. You can do a reverse image lookup using a website, like Google Images, to see if the photos on a profile are stolen from somewhere else. You can also search online for a profile name, email, or phone number to see what adds up and what doesn’t.
  • Ask specific questions about details given in a profile. A scammer may stumble over remembering details or making a story fit.
  • Never send money or sensitive personal information to someone you’ve never met in person. Cut off contact if someone starts asking you for financial or personally identifiable information (PII), like your credit card number or government ID numbers.

For More Information

Find more information in this romance scam study from BBB and these romance scam tips. Learn more about fake check scams.

If you’ve spotted a scam (whether or not you’ve lost money), report it to BBB.org/ScamTracker. Your report can help others avoid falling victim to scams. Find more information about scams and how to avoid them at BBB.org/AvoidScams.

For more information or further inquiries, contact the Wisconsin BBB at www.bbb.org/wisconsin, 414-847-6000 or 1-800-273-1002. Consumers also can find more information about how to protect themselves from scams by following the Wisconsin BBB on FacebookTwitterInstagram and YouTube.

ABOUT BBB: For more than 100 years, the Better Business Bureau has been helping people find businesses, brands and charities they can trust. In 2020, people turned to BBB more than 220 million times for BBB Business Profiles on 6.2 million businesses and Charity Reports on 11,000 charities, all available for free at BBB.org. There are local, independent BBBs across the United States, Canada and Mexico, including BBB Serving Wisconsin which was founded in 1939 and serves the state of Wisconsin.

Mentioned in This Press Release

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