Romance scammers are always improving their techniques to catch victims off guard. The latest fashion, according to the Better Business Bureau (BBB), is promising potential romantic partners money and other goods in exchange for their affection.
In a recent alert, the consumer-oriented organization says scammers are now offering to become your “sugar momma” or “sugar daddy” on dating platforms to con you out of money, with some victims even reporting losing up to $20,000.
The BBB explains that victims are targeted on dating or social media apps who say that they will pay your bills or give you a “weekly allowance” of up to thousands of dollars for companionship.
After establishing contact with an interested victim, the scammers say they will send a check or transfer money that the person can keep in exchange for a small favor such as sending a small amount to a needy friend, donating to a fake charity, or paying for processing or transaction fees.
“The scammer sends you a check or pretends to transfer money into your bank account or a peer-to-peer payment service like Cash App, PayPal, or Apple Pay,” the BBB explains.
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, purchase a gift card, or even donate to a charity that ends up being fake. Some victims even report that the scammers are asking victims to pay them back for transaction or processing fees, sometimes with Bitcoin.
One victim who reported the fraud lost $19,500.
“I believed that these checks were legit and the funds were real,” the consumer told the BBB’s Scam Tracker portal. “I ended up just sending my own personal money to these contacts... Which ended up costing me $19,500.”
In other versions of the scam, trusting individuals said the scammer asked them to directly access their bank accounts alongside their Social Security number and ID to deposit their “weekly allowance.”