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Sugar Momma Scam: The Hidden Dangers and How to Avoid Them

By Dr. Emily May
To some people, sugar dating may sound too good to be true. Wealthy older men and women (sugar daddies and sugar mommas) enjoy the company of a young, attractive partner (a sugar baby) whom they shower with gifts, affection, and money. The sugar baby gets their financial needs met while the sugar daddy or momma finds companionship and satisfaction from providing money, lavish trips, and more to their young partner.

Unfortunately, this lifestyle isn’t all about rewards – there are some serious risks involved. Outside of protecting yourself physically (if you’re a sugar baby that offers sex as one of their services), you also need to protect your best interests. Not all sugar daddies and mommas are who they say they are. A potential candidate may portray themselves online as someone with a three-figure income, houses around the world, and luxury vehicles when, in reality, they don’t have the means to offer the financial support they’re promising. In some cases, these sugar mommas aren’t even who they say they are!

Since most sugar dating matches are made online, it’s even easier for hopeful sugar babies to fall victim to the sugar momma scam. In this article, we’ll tell you exactly what the sugar momma scam is, its hidden dangers, and warning signs that you might be getting hoodwinked.

What is the Sugar Momma Scam?

Before we cover exactly what the sugar momma scam is, let’s first explain what a sugar momma is. Similar to sugar daddies who are older men looking for young attractive females to spoil, sugar mommas are wealthy older women on the hunt for young, hot men. There are also lesbian sugar mommas that seek the companionship of younger females.

While sugar daddy scams happen, the focus of this article is on sugar momma scams which, according to the Better Business Bureau, have cost some victims as much as $20,000. One reason sugar momma scams are more common is that it’s easier for a wealthy, established, and professional-looking woman to convince an eager young man that she’s rich. Women are often viewed as trustworthy and maternal so it makes sense that these well-off women would be interested in spoiling their sugar babies.

The Most Common Types of Sugar Momma Scams

Sugar mommas use a variety of techniques and tactics to get one over on unsuspecting sugar babies. The more you know about each of these scams, the better equipped you’ll be to avoid them.

Here are the most common sugar momma scams to look out for.

Scams on Social Media

Social media is a treasure trove of amazing potential. Unfortunately, it’s also a trap where prospective sugar babies fall victim to dishonest sugar mommas. Sugar momma scams happen across all social media platforms including Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, and basically anywhere people are networking, chatting, and posting information about themselves. The sugar momma scammer in question is almost always a very generous and wealthy woman offering to pay your bills, and debts, and fund your lifestyle despite the fact that you two have never met.

A generic sugar momma post might look something like this:

Hi! I’m a sugar mama from NYC looking for my next sugar baby to spoil. You must be extremely attractive and playful if you want the $2,000 monthly allowance I’m offering. Hope my forwardness isn’t offensive. Message me if you’re interested.”

A $2,000 monthly allowance just for being attractive and playful – who wouldn’t be interested? In this case, though, the old saying, “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is”, applies. Young, naive sugar babies fall hard and fast for this sugar momma scam where the sugar mama offers money without looking for much in return.

Once the sugar mama lands an unsuspecting sugar baby, they’ll pretend to send money and tell you to deposit it in your bank account. This money is usually sent in the form of a fake check or sent via PayPal or another payment app. Once the money appears, the sugar baby starts spending it only to find out later there are insufficient funds, the check has bounced, or the money is fraudulent. Now, the sugar baby is on the hook for whatever “fake” money they’ve spent and now owe to various companies and vendors.

The Sugar Momma Fake Check Scam

In today’s digital age, anyone wanting to send you money via check should automatically send up a red flag. However, this method of payment isn’t all that uncommon in the sugar-dating world. Unfortunately, this puts you at risk of getting scammed.

Not only can sugar mamas write fake checks (and they do) but they can also be stolen. Now, you’re out spending money that isn’t truly yours or belongs to someone else and before you know it, you’re wrapped up in some shady, illegal activity. In some cases, sugar mamas will send the check and then after you deposit it into your bank account, cancel the transaction.

Here’s the basic premise behind the sugar momma check scam.

Even if you’re not a self-proclaimed sugar mama or you’re not looking for a relationship, the appeal of an older, attractive woman wanting to pay your bills is hard for most people to resist. The sugar mama will send a generic message asking to send you money. Sometimes this is done in exchange for online companionships, phone calls, or chatting, but in many cases, the sugar mama doesn’t request anything in return.

If you agree to accept this generous payment from the mystery woman, she will proceed to deposit a very large sum of money directly into your bank account – but not before asking you to make specific purchases or do something with a certain portion of the funds. For example, the sugar mama might ask you to make a donation to a specific charity or purchase gift cards. On the other end of these transactions is another scammer or the sugar mama herself.

After a few days pass and the bank realizes the money is either fake or fraudulent and the initial deposit is reversed, you’re now left with a negative balance and the sugar mama walks away with the money you “donated” or used to purchase the items she requested. In some cases, your bank may even suspend your account or prevent you from accessing it until the situation is resolved.

This is the most common sugar momma scam and often the most successful. One reason is that the victim receives real money, which seems like confirmation that the sugar mama is legit. However, in a week’s time when the bank reverses the transaction, you’re left with a negative balance and the seemingly generous and selfless sugar mama is never to be seen or heard from again. Many sugar mamas using this scheme also use an alias or fake identity, so finding them and holding them accountable is nearly impossible.

Scams on Payment Apps (Venmo, PayPal, Cash App)

In addition to the fake check scam, sugar mamas also use popular payment apps to dupe unsuspecting sugar babies out of money. The two most popular sugar momma scams are the advanced-fee scam and the screenshot scam. Most popular sugar baby apps will not offer payment processors such as these as they do not support adult content.

Advanced-Fee Scam

While this scam may sound similar to the fake check scam, it’s actually the opposite. The sugar mama in this scenario doesn’t send the victim anything but, instead, asks the victim to send them a small amount of money using one of the popular payment apps mentioned above. Sugar mamas claim this $10 or $20 money transfer confirms that the sugar baby is a real person and makes future transfers easier. When, in fact, the sugar mama keeps the money and disappears. Although this scheme may not seem worth it for just $10 or $20, if you scam enough people in a day or week, these sugar mamas can make hundreds of dollars just by sending a few flirty messages online.

Screenshot Scam

If the sugar baby in question wants proof that a PayPal, Venmo, or Cash App transaction has been made, they may ask the sugar mama to provide a screenshot of the deposit. This scheme involves the sugar mama confirming they made a transfer and then providing a fake or doctored screenshot of the amount. The sugar mama may claim that the transaction is “pending” and ask you to send them a small amount in return to verify they sent the money to the right account.

Once you do, the sugar mama disappears or blocks your account and you learn a few days later that the “pending transaction” screenshot you received was a fake.

Warning Signs that You’re Getting Scammed by a Sugar Momma or Sugar Daddy

When it comes to online dating and matchmaking, it can be difficult to know who to trust. Data shows that people have lost over $1.3 billion to romance scams since 2016. So, if you’ve recently met a sugar mama online and you’re not sure if she’s legit, these warning signs could help you spot a fake and protect you from getting hurt both emotionally and financially.

Bounced Check or the Money Sent Never Arrives

If there’s a problem with your sugar mama’s payments from the start, it could be a sign that she’s a fraud or isn’t truly who she says she is. Legitimate sugar mommas have more than enough money to pay you upfront and keep the cash flowing. While a minor hiccup in payment could be an honest mistake, here are a few things to look for when receiving payments from your supposed sugar momma.

  • Never deposit a check you received and then refund the money back to your sugar mama after they claim they overpaid you.
  • If you receive a paper check from your sugar mama, try rubbing the bottom numbers with your finger. If they smudge, the check is likely fake.
  • Don’t accept repeated excuses for nonpayment like a problem with the bank, the check got lost in the mail, or other technology glitches.

She Asks YOU for Money

Although sugar momma and sugar baby relationships are built on mutual respect and benefits, the money exchange is generally one-sided with the sugar momma paying you, the sugar baby. If the sugar momma asks you to send them money instead, this is a definite red flag. No sugar mama should be asking their sugar baby for money or gifts. Asking you to send her money is a sure sign that you’re about to get scammed. You should also be suspicious of her true wealth if she suggests lessening your payments over time or is constantly making excuses about late payments or non-payment.

She Doesn’t Appear Wealthy

Most sugar mamas have no problem flaunting their wealth. This means wearing luxury brands and clothing, flashy jewelry, traveling, and owning expensive cars, houses, and more. If your sugar mama isn’t wearing expensive clothing and accessories, is driving a beat-up car, or lives in a low-income area, chances are, they don’t have the money to back up their claims. On the other hand, if she is overly obvious about flaunting her money, it could be a sign that she has something to hide and is a form of reverse psychology.

She Avoids Answering Any Personal Questions

Anonymity is an important part of successful sugar momma scams. This is why scammers will avoid sharing personal information about themselves. Part of a sugar dating relationship is companionship and friendship. Most sugar mommas are eager and excited to get to know you on a more personal level. If the sugar mama you’re dealing with is hesitant to answer your questions and doesn’t offer much information, it could be a sign that she’s not who she says she is. A real sugar mama won’t need to generate fake information and should have no problem engaging in pleasant conversation and being forthcoming with personal details (within reason).

She Uses Lots of Typos and Poor Grammar

Not only are legitimate sugar mamas wealthy but they’re often highly educated and successful. If the sugar mama you’re chatting with makes a lot of grammatical and spelling errors, it could be a sign that she’s not as successful as she claims.

Unfortunately, most internet scams originate in foreign countries where scammers use a translating system to generate messages and communicate with their victims. These systems aren’t always accurate, which is why you may notice misspellings and grammar issues. Sentences that don’t make sense or sound robotic are other sure signs that you may not be speaking with a true sugar mama.

She’s Offering Free Money with Nothing in Return

In life, you don’t get something for nothing. If a sugar mama contacts you offering money for zero in return and sends you a payment almost immediately, chances are, it’s a sugar momma scam. Most sugar mamas want at least a friendship or companion to chat with, travel with, and even go on dates with.

It’s rare that a sugar mama will offer you money for no reason. It’s even more uncommon for a sugar mama to send you money within the first few minutes of meeting. If this happens, you can almost guarantee that they’ll quickly follow up by asking you to send some or all of the money back. This is a common sugar mama scam and should send up immediate red flags.

She Wants to Rush Into Things

Speaking of fast payments, a sugar mama that insists on rushing things may have an ulterior motive. Professional sugar mommas are often respectful of your time and comfort level which means being attentive and setting healthy boundaries. They aren’t likely to rush into things or make major commitments. If a sugar mama is pushing a romantic relationship or wants to rush into things including sexting or being intimate, it could be a sign that she’s trying to hoodwink you.

Tips for Avoiding the Sugar Momma Scam

Even before you hit the sugar dating scene or start chatting with a potential sugar mama, you can use these sugar baby tips for beginners to protect yourself and your money.

Reverse Search Profile Pictures

It’s not uncommon for sugar momma scams to involve fake profile pictures and information. Fake sugar mamas have perfected the art of catfishing. Many scammers try to pass off someone else’s profile picture as their own. The best way to uncover these fake profiles is to perform a reverse image search on Google. If the image you search comes up with different names or identities, chances are, you’re dealing with a fraud. If nothing comes up, she may be a legitimate sugar momma looking for a sugar baby to spoil.

Pay attention to all the photos on the sugar mama’s social media pages and the ones she sends you. If they all appear professionally taken or have similar backgrounds, they could be stock photos. Check each photo carefully for edits, filters, and other imperfections that may suggest they’ve been altered in some way. Professional sugar mommas are authentic and their profile pictures will be too.

Research Her Online

Checking a sugar mama’s identity should include more than just searching her photos. Use her name, profession, and other professional information to do some research. Enter her name, age, phone number, or email address into the Google search bar and see what the results say. Most of the results should be positive and professional. If most of the listings are negative or the results don’t match up with her profile picture or who she says she is, you may be at risk of getting scammed.

Follow Her on Social Media

Social media can tell you a lot about someone’s personality and legitimacy. Search your sugar momma’s social media profiles to see if she posts often and what types of things she posts. Candid pictures with friends, being tagged in photos, and pictures taken in a variety of locations over a long period of time are all good signs that your sugar mama is a professional. Abandoned social media accounts or ones that include several pictures all posted on the same day may suggest the account – and sugar mama – are fake. Pay close attention to the number of followers they have as well as what accounts they’re following. With a little digging, you should be able to tell if the account is legitimate and if you’re dealing with a trustworthy sugar momma.

Catch Her in a Lie

People say if you tell the truth, you don’t need a good memory. That’s because only scammers and liars make up stories about who they are, where they’re from, and their intentions. Pay attention to the details the sugar mama shares with you and any inconsistencies in her stories. Most sugar momma scams involve multiple victims, making it tricky for the scammer to keep their stories and details straight. If the sugar mama forgets what she told you or suddenly claims she’s from a different place or has a different occupation, chances are, it’s a sign she’s being dishonest about her identity and intentions.

The Dos and Don’ts of Finding a Legitimate Sugar Mama

Now that you know the warning signs of a sugar momma scam and how to avoid being taken advantage of, you can safely navigate the world of sugar dating. But, before you go, check out these dos and don’ts of finding a professional and legitimate sugar mama interested in nothing more than your company and companionship.


  • Use common sense. If the arrangement seems too generous or too good to be true, it probably is.
  • Ask detailed questions that help you verify her identity but also keep tabs on her consistency. The more details you know, the easier it’ll be to catch her in a lie (if she’s telling one). Ask questions about her occupation, where she lives, if she has any pets, and what her favorite hobbies are.
  • Schedule a video call. While it’s fairly easy for a dishonest sugar mama to alter her photos online, it’s more difficult to fake a video call. Suggest a video call so you can see her face-to-face. If she resists or flat-out refuses, it could be a sign that she’s hiding something.
  • Only use credible sugar dating websites where the sugar mamas and daddies are verified. Some of the best websites for sugar mamas include Cougar Life, Seeking, and OlderWomenDating.


  • Don’t share your personal or financial information. Avoid sharing things like your credit card information, passwords, birthday, legal name, or social security numbers. Using just a few of these details, a professional scammer can access and clean out your bank accounts in the blink of an eye!
  • While it’s good to be yourself and be a little vulnerable when landing a sugar mama, you should never fully let your guard down. Remember, this arrangement isn’t a true romantic relationship but, instead, a financial arrangement where you receive payment for your companionship. Avoid wearing your heart on your sleeve or falling in love with your sugar mama. This could cloud your judgment and leave you more susceptible to sugar momma scams.

Avoid These Sugar Momma Scams and Enjoy the Benefits of a Legitimate Arrangement

Living the life of a sugar baby can be extremely rewarding. From lavish gifts and vacations to having your bills and tuition paid, many sugar babies love nothing more than being spoiled and showing their sugar mommas and daddies plenty of affection and appreciation. Unfortunately, not all sugar mommas are what they appear to be.

Sugar momma scams are a common online scheme where a supposed sugar mama takes advantage of a young and innocent sugar baby. Recognizing the warning signs of a scam and the different techniques used by these sugar mamas can help you protect yourself against these fraudsters. Once you know how to weed out the bad apples, you can find a professional sugar momma and enter into a mutually beneficial arrangement that leaves both parties happy and fulfilled.

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