How to Spot Sugar Momma Scams

Older Woman Accompanied by a Younger Man - Scam Alert

Online dating has been a godsend for couples all around the world who met each other over the internet. Utilizing dating apps and websites is more popular than ever as more and more people work from home or find it uncomfortable to meet strangers out in public.

Unfortunately, online dating has also been a goldmine for catfishers and scam artists. Scammers use a variety of deceptive strategies against unsuspecting victims for an equally wide range of motivations. Some pretend to be someone they’re not so that you’ll like them and let them play out their romantic fantasy. Others just want your money.

When it comes to your standard dating services, a general rule is that if the other party is introducing financial transactions into the equation, that’s a major red flag. It’s odd for someone you’ve never met to ask you for money.

The influx of sugar dating apps complicates things a bit. Sugar dating is when one – usually older and more financially established – party enters a mutually beneficial relationship with another – usually younger and more attractive – person. The Sugar Daddy or Sugar Momma provides cash, gifts, vacations, and other luxuries in exchange for companionship, sexual intimacy, and/or “arm candy.”

The popularity of these relationships has resulted in an explosion of Sugar Momma scams, where an attractive woman contacts a young man and offers an allowance and other prizes in exchange for their time – with promises to meet in person later.

Let’s explore how these Sugar Momma scams work; then, we’ll discuss what you can do to avoid ever becoming a victim.

How Most Sugar Momma Scams Work

I visited the Better Business Bureau’s Scam Tracker to find some real-life examples of Sugar Momma scams that were submitted to BBB.org. All these complaints were filed in 2022 – and there were plenty of options from which to choose.

On this site, we’ve reviewed multiple sugar dating sites. The majority of scams reported online are not executed using these platforms – dating sites usually have protections and verification processes in place to prevent scams.

The examples below will show that most Sugar Momma scams are orchestrated through social media.

As you’ll see in this first report, scammers almost always reach out to you first. Then, they offer to send you a check to prove that they’re serious and legit.

The checks will appear to deposit, and your available funds will increase like normal. That’s when they’ll ask for some of the cash back for any number of reasons. They’ll apply tons of pressure to have you send that money quickly – before the original check bounces and the money disappears.

Example #1

As you’ll see in this first report, scammers almost always reach out to you first. Then, they offer to send you a check to prove that they’re serious and legit.

The checks will appear to deposit, and your available funds will increase like normal. That’s when they’ll ask for some of the cash back for any number of reasons. They’ll apply tons of pressure to have you send that money quickly – before the original check bounces and the money disappears.

“The scammer came to me as a sugar mom and said she will give me a weekly allowance then proceeded to send me checks to my email i then deposited the checks and sent money to her “co-worker” days later my bank closed my account and told me the checks were fake and no my account is negative.”


Example #2

This next person was approached on Instagram and ended up losing $3,700.00 to a Sugar Momma scammer. Unfortunately, they still don’t understand the nature of the scam.

Their account wasn’t hacked, the check bounced – and whatever money they sent to the supposed “Sugar Momma” was already long gone. That transaction is irreversible. When the bank reverses the check deposit, you’re down that sum plus whatever you sent away.

“This lady direct messaged me on Instagram and said she wanted to help me and be my sugar mom. She sent me a check to deposit in my account. I thought it was ******** at first but then when I scanned the check it actually deposited the money into my account. then she threatened me to send most of it back and keep a certain amount of the check as my “allowance”.

“I believe when the check was deposited into my account I was then hacked because after i deposited the check and sent the money back, i am then missing a significant amount of money and am in debt with my account. I don’t know how or why it happened but Stay away from this scam.”


Example #3

This next Sugar Momma scam follows the same formula for gave me a good chuckle. I love how these mystery women appear out of the blue and offer these guys an allowance, only to need some of it back for altruistic ventures like an orphanage. Imagine getting those follow-up messages trying to guilt you into believing that orphans will starve if you don’t act now. That’s a bizarre scenario that should send red flags flying instantly!

Fortunately, it doesn’t sound like this Sugar Momma scammer was very good at their job. This user didn’t report having lost any of their own money. The orphanage excuse may have been a bit too obvious.

“She contacted me out of the blue wanting to be my sugar mommy. Her account has not posted for several years. She ensured i didn’t need to send her any bank information. I played along and she then asked if I could donate some money to an orphanage.“


Example #4

Here we go again! It’s the same setup almost every time. The Sugar Momma scammer makes the introduction, offers to take care of the young man, then sends a check for immediate online deposit. The deposit is executed, then comes the hook.

Amazingly, it’s the orphanage again! As usual, the offer is to keep $500 of the initial transaction and send the rest back. The money sent to the “orphanage” is unrecoverable, so once the $1800 check bounces, the victim’s is $1300 in the negative!

This person spotted the scam and stopped communicating with the fake Sugar Momma. That’s when this scam takes a hilarious turn. They pretend to contact the FBI and hire an assassin.

What a combination of solutions! If the Feds don’t punish you, my hired killer will! And here I thought the FBI would be more concerned with “murder for hire” plots than someone keeping cash that was provided to them voluntarily.

“On May 9th, 2021 she asked me if she could be my sugar mom. As a stubborn teenager I accepted it. We talked more and more and the she sent me a $1,800 check to my email. I got the check and put it up in my account. And then she said she wants me to pay this orphanage which I don’t know the name of. She told me I have to give away $1,300 and can keep the 500. Fast forwarding to now as of May 12, 2021 she is asking me to pay up via apple pay and supposedly contacted a FBI agent and an assassin. Obviously, I knew it was a scam. I received texts from this assassin and FBI agent telling me to give the money.”

If your Sugar Momma so much as mentions an orphanage, you’re being scammed.
Why is this the go-to backstory for these people?!


Example #5

Once again, the entire grift is predicated on you depositing a faulty check, then sending a portion of that money back using some other payment method. This near victim called his scammer out on not being able to receive his money via Zelle, while they wanted him to use that same app to forward some of the funds to the orphanage.

This scammer chooses to get angry and bail rather than make up an FBI investigation or assassination plot.

“Received a message from an Instagram profile that was private with only 1 post. Immediately asked if I’d ever had a sugar momma before. After talking back & forth, she said she owned homes in CA and FL, but she was stuck in Canada due to a business trip & covid restrictions. Said she’d be home in 2 months.

“She asked about the banks I use, that she never asks for bank information, can she send me an allowance. She said she would send me images of her payroll check & how to deposit it using my mobile banking app. I did none of this.

“She asked if I could send money to an orphanage with part of what she sends me, saying she hasn’t been able to donate since being out of the country. The orphanage name she gave me was a real orphanage. She said once I have the funds I can use Zelle to send the orphanage money.

“I asked why she can’t send me the money through zelle or any other app. She gave some excuse of those apps double charging her. I asked why she can’t donate to the orphanage & that’s when her story started falling apart. She kept giving excuses, and eventually started saying I ask too many questions & I’m wasting her time. She said she’s been hacked before & that’s why she won’t give me more information.”


Example #6

This article is about Sugar Momma scams but the actors behind these evil plots target women as well. I’ve included this example because the scammer uses a slightly different method on their prey. Rather than sending a bounced check, they use a fake PayPal service (called sandbox PayPal) to make it appear as if they sent $6000 via the payment processor. Then, he asks for a relatively insignificant sum of money in return, compared to the initial gift.

Notice, they never want a check in return. They’ll ask for cash, gift cards, or instant transfers through payment processors that debit the money from your bank account immediately. Only checks are deposited temporarily, then processed (and ultimately reversed) days later.

“This man contacted me and wanted to be my Sugar Daddy and give me $6000. He used a fake PayPal (sandbox PayPal) to make it look like he really sent it. However sandbox PayPal is not real money. Then I was supposed to send $150 to an address he gave me. I googled sandbox PayPal because it sounded fishy to me. He wanted to talk to me on telegram. I screenshot all of our conversations. I don’t want anyone else to fall victim to this scam.”


Now that we’ve gone through several real-life examples of Sugar Momma scams and what they all have in common, let’s review what we’ve learned. The following tips will help you spot Sugar Momma scams and avoid becoming a victim.

The Money Should Only Flow in One Direction!

Actual sugar dating has pretty defined rules. One person contributes cash, gifts, and mentorship, while the beneficiary of those goods reciprocates with companionship and affection. The young attractive “Sugar Baby” is gifting their benefactor with their presence – and usually some kind of sexual relationship.

However it is that you may feel about such an openly transactional relationship, the one thing it’s not is confusing. It’s pretty much the closest thing you can find to prostitution without being illegal. At no point in the arrangement should the person playing the provider role start asking for their money back. And no self-respecting Sugar Baby would ever entertain such a refund!

Remember, your Sugar Momma is supposed to be financially stable enough to keep you on an allowance while maintaining their lavish lifestyle. If they can’t afford to lose $1800 without all the orphans in their life going hungry, something is wrong.

And let’s be real – how many women who are comfortable being Sugar Momma types are spending any time worrying about orphanages? If anything, rich cougars would just use the charity as one more resource for recruiting young down-on-their-luck bucks for their stable.

Check for Fake Profile Pictures

Nearly every Sugar Momma scam begins with an unsolicited offer on a social media platform. We’ve seen multiple young men being contacted on Instagram, though the BBB’s Scam Tracker shows multiple examples of scammers using Facebook, Snapchat, and Reddit as well.

Most social media networks are built upon users uploading and sharing pictures of themselves. A profile without any personal pictures is an enormous red flag. So, scammers often steal someone else’s identity, uploading a bunch of that person’s photos as their own. This practice is extremely common in all catfishing scams.

Of course, the scammer needs you to be so excited about the prospect of dating the person in the pictures that you lose all rational reason and judgment. So, they steal photos of popular influencers and professional models.

Fake User Pretending to be a Woman Icon

Of course, the scammer needs you to be so excited about the prospect of dating the person in the pictures that you lose all rational reason and judgment. So, they steal photos of popular influencers and professional models.

Fortunately, these are easy to find with a simple image search. Go to Google image search and upload one of the Sugar Momma’s pictures. If the search returns results from someone else’s profile or from advertisements and things like that, you know you’re being scammed.  

Ask Detailed Questions / Be Skeptical

Sugar Momma scammers don’t want to give you time to think things through. They employ lots of little tricks to discourage you from asking questions. In the examples above, one scammer pretended to be turned off by her victim’s line of questioning and ended their communication as if he was being dumped.

Other Sugar Momma scammers will play to your emotions and attempt to guilt you into sending back some money before you’ve had time to objectively examine the situation. They may claim to experience a sudden unforeseen emergency that changes their financial situation and what they can afford to send as an allowance. The longer you wait, the direr their emergency becomes, and the more horrible you are for not acting swiftly enough!

A good place to focus some added scrutiny is on the financial transactions. Ask why they can receive funds through Zelle or Venmo but can only send them via check. If you’re shown a screenshot of a PayPal transaction, log in to the actual website and search for the transaction. It won’t be there.

Even if you fall for the first step and deposit the fraudulent check, it’s not too late. Tell the Sugar Momma scammer that you can send the money until the check fully clears. It doesn’t matter if the bank says the funds are available – that deposit is still processing.

Once you explain that you’re not comfortable spending money that hasn’t been cleared by the bank, they’ll show their true colors. They’ll get very angry and either accuse you of stealing or threaten you in some way. Neither of which is behavior becoming of an actual Sugar Momma.

Be Realistic

I have the same advice for the victims of Sugar Momma scams as I do for people being catfished: be honest with yourself. Look back upon your life up to this point and ask:

  • What’s happening online with this other person?
  • Does it feel at all consistent with anything you’ve experienced previously?
  • Have stunning, model-level women ever introduced themselves to hit on you out of the blue?
  • Has anyone you’ve ever dated been anywhere near as attractive as the stranger in the photos?
  • How often have beautiful older ladies materialized out of thin air to give you free money?

There might be 25 dudes on the planet who have experienced those things legitimately. And they’re almost always insanely rich, famous, or ridiculously attractive Himbo types. The first two don’t need a Sugar Momma’s money. The third is the prime candidate to end up a rich divorcee’s pool boy.

If you really want a Sugar Momma, find a sugar dating site that accepts male Sugar Babys. Most require the man to be Sugar Daddy – but not all of them! Find reputable sugar momma dating apps in our reviews, buy a subscription (an important step to weed out scammers), and introduce yourself to the women seeking that kind of arrangement.

I promise, once you reel one in, she’ll never ask for the money back – well unless you’re awful in the sack. Maybe negotiate performance incentives ahead of time.