Did you get a DM from a stranger telling you they’ll happily send money to you and asking for nothing in return but online companionship? Or are you just wondering what a so-called sugar daddy is?
The Sugar Daddy Cash App scam is a popular con where you get a DM from someone who wants to be your sponsor and send you money. In an email that you next get, “Cash App” will ask for $50 to “release” the funds. After that, the scammer disappears.
Keep on reading to find out what a sugar daddy (and mommy) is, why is Cash App involved, and how you can protect yourself from this widespread scam.
What or Who is a Sugar Daddy?
Skip this part if you know the meaning already. But if you aren’t sure what the term means, stick around.
Sugar daddy is not a new term or slang. It was in use in the early ’00s. And I mean the 1900’s, not the 2000’s! That’s how old it is.
A sugar daddy is an older gentleman past his prime who has money willing to spend on a young lady, ladies, or guys. The recipient of cash, gifts, travel, and often a life of luxury is called a sugar baby.
It’s a voluntary relationship that is often very beneficial to both sides. Hugh Hefner, Donald Trump, and to some extent, Dan Bilzerian come to mind as famous sugar daddies.
Sugar mamma is, on the other side, an older lady, sometimes called a cougar, looking for young guns and is willing to spend tons of money on them.
How Does The Sugar Daddy Cash App Scam Work
Scammers are aware that many young boys and girls are strapped for cash but are looking for a certain lifestyle seen on Instagram and most other social media.
Cash is a great incentive and people are willing to do anything to get ahold of it. So, when someone contacts you with a DM on Instagram with a smooth message promising to pay you $1,000+ each week, you might lower your guard and fall for it.
This scam is a numbers game and scammers aren’t sending just a couple of messages here and there and calling it quits. No. They have many fake accounts they use to scour social media and all they do is send sugar daddy propositions to find enough gullible people that will trust them and fall for it.
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In their eyes, this is easy money and by getting just one victim, they can earn as much as a doctor earns in a month (in their countries).
So, how does this sugar daddy scam exactly work?
It starts out as an innocent direct message on social media. Typically, Instagram or Twitter. The sender, an older-looking gentleman, introduces himself and says that he will send a weekly allowance to you.
He says he’s not looking for anything dirty, but just a conversation here and there when he’s lonely.
If you respond and agree to it, he will ask for your email and $Cashtag so he can transfer money to you and prove he’s genuine and the money is in fact real.
Okay, you say to yourself. If the money comes in I will decide what to do next. I can even block him and take his cash!
Once you send over these details, you get an email from “Cash App” saying that the sugar daddy paid you but the money is on hold.
Therefore, you won’t get the cash released until you pay a clearance fee of $50. It could be more than $50. It could be $100+ if the money you are “receiving” is $1,000+.
The money is so close, you can feel it. So you decide to pay the $50 and see what happens. Again, if the guy is real, great! If not, you’ll “only” lose 50 bucks. And so you lose the money and the scammer is gone.
That’s if you’re smart enough not to fall for subsequent messages and promises that the money will be released if you send more cash to release it.
Some people keep paying until they finally figure out that they will never get the money from the person on the other side or from Cash App.
How to Stay Safe And Avoid Falling For Scams on Cash App
There are many many scammers that are using, not only Cash App, but also Venmo, Chime, Zelle, and many other mobile payment methods that don’t stand behind their users and protect them or at least refund them the money.
How to recognize a scam
Nine times out of ten, it’s easy to recognize a scam or a scammer. In the Cash App sugar daddy example, the email that you get is official-looking but the email address isn’t the official Cash App email address.
It might come from a Gmail account or use a misspelling of Cash App, etc. That’s the first red flag.
However, what about someone willing to send you money for nothing? Does that sound sus? It most definitely does. Who is willing to send money to you and ask only for texting and nothing else in return?
If it’s too good to be true, it probably is. And that should be your northern star, your guide when texting with people on the internet and social media in particular.
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Understanding Cash App
Cash App and other mobile payment apps such as Venmo, Zelle, Chime, and others, have instant P2P transfers.
That means that when you send money from your Cash App account to another Cash App user, the money is instantly transferred and the recipient can Cash Out in a matter of minutes.
By the time you gather your thoughts and realize what’s happening, the scammer is long gone with your money and there’s not much you can do about it.
Cash App Customer “Support”
You can, and should, report a scam to the Cash App customer support team. They won’t return the money to you because you made the transaction voluntarily, but at least they can block the scammer’s account.
If you’ve lost much more than $50, you should report the crime to your local PD, as well as the FTC. They might not get the scammer, but you never know. If he’s not from India, Nigeria, or some other third-world country, they might find out who it was after all.
Plus, by reporting it to these institutions, you might help other people.
Report to Local News
If you’re feeling really adventurous, you could call your local news or a journalist and tell them what happened. They’re always looking for stories like yours and they might put enough pressure on Cash App to return you the lost money.
How to Avoid Falling For Scams
Scammers are on the lookout for the vulnerable, the inexperienced, and the gullible among us. There’s no shame in falling for a scam unless it’s one of those old Nigerian Prince scams.
However, it’s actually really easy to recognize and avoid scams. Here are some of my tips:
- Use common sense
- Don’t act hastily
- Only send money with Cash App to friends and family
- Don’t transfer money to strangers or businesses you’ve never heard off
- Google to see if a similar thing has happened to someone else
- Don’t even respond to strangers’ DMs
- There are no fast and easy investments
- Never pay upfront for something if it isn’t a reputable business or person
- Don’t click on links in emails or text messages that you aren’t 100% sure off
- Swallow your pride and ask for an advice
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As you can see, the above tips for avoiding scams are pretty straightforward and easy to implement, not only online but IRL.
For instance, never rush with a decision involving money. Sleep on it and see how you feel about it in the morning. Is that big purchase really necessary at this time? Is that old guy really spending so much money on me for nothing?
Use Google to find out whether other people had the same thing happen to them. This can be eye-opening if you realize that you’re not the only one getting suspicious messages on social media.
The FTC website is full of cautionary stories and comments from regular people that have fallen for a scam. They share their experience so others can learn from them and not lose their life savings.
The website also offers advice and even checklists as to what to do next. Getting scammed doesn’t have to be the end of the line. There are ways of mitigating the consequences.
Sugar Daddy is a well-known scam on Cash App. You should not respond to messages from ANYONE promising to send you a one-off or regular payment.
It could be a scammer that will “relieve” you of $50+ or it could turn out to be a creepy old guy wanting to pay you for you know what in the end.
Neither of the two options sounds appealing, to be honest.
The scammers are ingenious and keep upping their game by implementing age-old scams into the digital age and by devising ever-changing plots to part the money from you.
Stay alert and don’t think that it couldn’t happen to you.
Adrian Volenik is a fintech enthusiast who loves testing and reviewing digital banking apps and financial products in general. How many digital banking accounts can one man have? Not enough, if you ask Adrian. As his wallet will soon explode if he doesn’t cut back on the number of cards.