How to avoid sugar daddy scams

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Sugar daddy scams lure victims through apps like Instagram, PayPal or Cash App by offering seemingly easy money for something in return. Read on for my first-hand account of discovering a fake sugar daddy who tried to scam me. Next, install an award-winning security tool like Avast Free Antivirus to protect yourself from online scams.

What is a “sugar daddy”?

A “sugar daddy” is usually an older man who offers money, gifts or other financial incentives to a younger person (his “sugar baby”), usually a woman, a change of company or other benefits. It is a voluntary relationship that both the “sugar daddy” and the “sugar baby” feel that it benefits them. 

What is a sugar daddy scam?

A sugar daddy scam occurs when a scammer poses as a wealthy benefactor looking for a sugar baby to care for. The scam is where the sugar daddy attempts to swindle a victim in need of money or someone seeking a lavish lifestyle. Sugar daddy scams often start on social media.

Sugar daddy scams are usually started by sending a direct message to the victim via Instagram, Facebook or another social network. In my example below, it all started on Instagram. After an initial conversation, fake sugar daddies like to continue the conversation on another, more private platform, such as WhatsApp, iMessage, or another text messaging app.

A fake “sugar daddy” may start flirting with his future “sugar baby” or offer money directly. The ultimate goal is that if the victim falls into the trap, they end up giving money to the scammer. Scams work in a number of ways, although not all sugar daddy scams are convincing.

How do sugar daddy scams work?

There are two main steps in sugar daddy scams: First, the fake sugar daddy contacts the potential victim on a social network, such as Instagram or Snapchat. Second, the scammer promises to send money, but first the victim must send something back, to prove their loyalty or authorize the transaction.

Like I said before, fake sugar daddies lure potential sugar babies through direct messages that seem (and are) too good to be true. First, they try to gain your trust before proceeding with the payment request. They then often send you evidence such as fake transaction logs or photos of other happy sugar babies.

When they ask for payment verification, the scammers disappear as soon as they receive the money. Depending on the scam, they may ask you for money to prove your loyalty, to cover transaction fees, or to validate your account.

Sugar daddy gift card scams often ask for verification of payment through prepaid cards for apps like Google Play or Amazon, because those cards cannot be refunded and cannot be easily traced. Scammers also transfer fraudulent money into the victim’s account from a stolen credit card. By the time the victim sends the fake sugar daddy what they want, the stolen card company has already withdrawn the money and the card is empty. Or, the scammer creates a credit card in the victim’s name and runs up a huge debt.

Sugar daddy scams have become increasingly common, with many young women across the globe falling victim to similar tactics by cybercriminals. Some of these women may find themselves in a difficult financial situation and really need the money. Or they may just be looking for a certain standard of living that they couldn’t otherwise afford. The so-called “sugar daddies” take advantage of these situations to obtain benefits, and end up causing a lot of damage.

Instagram sugar daddy scams

There are a lot of fake sugar daddies on Instagram. The most common scam scenario is that of the previous case. Typically, the scammer sends a direct message to the victim, and then switches to another platform like WhatsApp. Finally, they ask you to send them something before they can give you the money.

Some popular payment apps used by Instagram scammers are Cash App and PayPal. In what follows, I will explain how sugar babies are scammed using these apps.

Cash App Scams

Cash App scams start on social networks like Instagram or Snapchat. Once a fake “sugar daddy” has lured his victim, he can use a Cash App to steal information or money from him.

Here are some of the most common “sugar daddy” scams on Cash App:

Money in, money out

First, you receive a fraudulent payment in your account, and then you must send money using a gift card or other payment method that the scammer has requested. When Cash App realizes that the money it has received in its account is stolen money, it withdraws it.

Fake verification

The scammer asks you to transfer some money as proof that your account is real or that you are trustworthy; then he blocks him and disappears with the money.

Payment commission

The fake “sugar daddy” tells you that in order to send him the promised sum of money, you first have to pay him a certain amount of money less than what he will pay you. But, Cash App is a mobile payment app that works like Venmo, which means person-to-person transfers are instant and never need verification.


Phishing attempts from a fake sugar daddy consist of asking for your $Cashtag, email, phone number, and address to complete the transaction. Only provide your $Cashtag if the transaction is legitimate; This will prevent identity theft.

False payment

You receive a fake payment notification supposedly from Cash App and the link to check the message is infected with malware.

PayPal Scams

The most common PayPal scams used by fake “sugar daddies” involve sending their victim a screenshot of a “pending” transaction to make it appear as if the money is ready to be sent to their account. Of course, the scammer says that he needs something in return first. As I mentioned in the example about my run-in with a sugar daddy on Instagram, these scammers often ask for money in the form of gift cards. But fake “sugar daddies” can also ask for payment with cryptocurrency.

You should also be careful with cash requests through PayPal. The fake sugar daddy sends a request for a small amount of money (as a guarantee) in the hope that you will click OK. Do not do it.

Snapchat Scams

Sugar daddies will try to scam a sugar baby on Snapchat just like they do on Instagram. They may use Snapchat to find their victims and start a conversation, hoping to turn it into a profitable scam. When it comes time to arrange payment, they are likely to continue using the Cash App or PayPal tricks described above, opening a credit card in the sugar baby’s name and emptying it, or asking for bank details or other information.

How to avoid being a victim of a scam?

The best way to stay safe from fake sugar daddies and social media scams is to, above all, avoid contacting scammers. As a general rule of thumb, we should assume that if something seems too good to be true, it probably isn’t. Here are some additional steps you can take to avoid scams.

  • Do not reply to messages from people you do not know. If you’re in doubt, look at his profile to see if there’s anything suspicious.
  • Ignore any message that promises you free money. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably isn’t.
  • Do not provide your personal data to strangers. I wouldn’t do it in person, so don’t do it online.
  • Do your research. Read up on relevant online forums and groups to learn more about the types of scams you think you’ve encountered, like these helpful guides.

How to know if a “sugar daddy” is legit?

If you want to know how to spot a fake sugar daddy, here are some telltale signs:

  • They just want direct messages with you. Many sugar daddy scammers and other romance scammers avoid video chats or face-to-face meetings so you don’t find out who they really are.
  • Their social media profiles are fake. Accounts with few followers, stock images, or zero posts are probably not real. Many fake “sugar daddies” have these types of profiles.
  • They ask you to send them money. A real sugar daddy doesn’t need your money (they’re rich, after all) and won’t ask their sugar baby for money in any format.


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