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This question already has an answer here:

The person in question is my sugar mother and she doesn't want any of my information, she's offering me her bank account # and she sent me a picture of her ID to prove that she's who she claims to be(and I've video chatted her before as well.) Any chance I'll get in trouble for this?

marked as duplicate by Pete B., Bob Baerker, Nathan L, Dheer, JoeTaxpayer Jan 25 at 9:34

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  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. No new comments will be accepted on this question. Please read The Intent and Purpose of Comments – JoeTaxpayer Jan 25 at 0:25
  • This question is a little different than the one marked as duplicate. In the other question, scammer wanted OP to share his bank password. In this one, scammer is offering to share her own information (supposedly). – Ben Miller Jan 25 at 12:23
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THIS IS ALMOST CERTAINLY A SCAM

It definitely smells fishy to me. If I wanted to do something nice for someone and pay off their debts, I would write them a check, give them cash, get a money order, or get a cashiers check. One thing I wouldn't do is just give them my bank account number and say "withdraw the money from this account".

I'm assuming it's not her original ID, but a photocopy or picture of her ID, which is easily altered. Not really sure the exact angle she's (if it is actually a she) playing, but I can think of a few ways this could go badly for you. If this is not her account and you take money out of it, congrats, you are now a criminal.

Run, don't walk, away from this

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    You statement of "If this is not her account..." gave me the "aha!" moment I was looking for. The scam probably works by withdrawing the money and convincing the victim to send a money order to the scammer for X amount of dollars due to insert BS story here – MonkeyZeus Jan 23 at 17:27
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    @MonkeyZeus Yep. "Hey, this is embarrassing but I forgot about a bill I had due. Can you send me $1000 back, but you can keep the rest." – Kevin Jan 23 at 19:06
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    "I would write them a check" "One thing I wouldn't do is give them my back account number." These things seem contradictory. At least here in the U.S., every check I can ever recall seeing has the routing number and account number printed in human and machine-readable form at the bottom of the check. Indeed, just looking at one of your own checks is usually the easiest way to find your routing and account numbers. – reirab Jan 23 at 20:57
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    Would rephrase to "THIS IS A SCAM". There is no most likely here. The chances of it not being a scam are infinitesimal. – Dúthomhas Jan 23 at 21:38
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    @Mehrdad If someone wrote me a check to pay me for something, my reaction would not be the same as if someone just gave me their account number and said take it out of this account. Would your reaction to those to things be the same? – Kevin Jan 24 at 20:04
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It's a scam because two things are occurring together:

  • It is an all-Internet relationship with no physical presence
  • Money transactions are coming into it, and they are cleverly designed to seem harmless

It is a sophisticated scam, and they are getting more sophisticated due to citizens like yourself getting smarter. They can't open with "give me your account info and I'll transfer funds to you" anymore.

But at the heart of it, it's still a classic confidence game. It is about cultivating your confidence in them, so you will relax your guard. Later, they nail you.

I would imagine that 90% of your interactions have been in text, or non-visual non-audio interaction. It is likely that you are being catfished by a foreign man, and the woman is simply "on staff" to show up for the rare video chat, to lend authenticity to all the hours and hours of text conversations.

You can test that by, during video chat, subtly reference a lot of things from text chats and see if she remembers them, or if you're talking to a new person. Or if she fidgets and looks down when you lead a conversational subject, she may be receiving text messages from your actual handler. Also look for an earpiece, headphones (she may be getting a blend of you and your handler) or push-to-talk: all evidence she is getting audio info from a handler.

Another indicator is when her time on video is short or rushed. Ask her to spend a lot of lazy hours on video with you. If this woman is scamming many people, the scam company won't be able to afford having their one woman spend all that time on only one victim. Whereas a real woman would not have any trouble with that.

Be super discreet and playful about these challenges. If they realize they are challenges, they will get very offended and manipulate you to back down (but then a normal person might get offended too, so that doesn't tell you much).


On the financial side, what's happening is they have stolen bank details from a different victim. They aim for you to steal out of that person's account. That's either to get you comfortable with this to put you off your guard for later frauds, or simply, they will fabricate a lie about how they need you to take more than agreed and send some money back to them, e.g. via Bitcoin or Western Union. At that point, it's just a cashiers check scam.

But it's all about building your confidence that they are legit. People like you, who know enough to be on guard, are the most vulnerable to this because if they gain your confidence, you'll trust your own vetting and thus, trust them even more.

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    All these "tests" and "challenges" seem like more trouble than they're worth...and more face-to-face time with the scammers could just give them more opportunities to "explain" their behavior and trick OP further. Better to just cut them off and run, I think. – MJ713 Jan 23 at 21:50
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    @MJ713 I agree but hearts are hearts. Other organs are other organs too. – Harper Jan 23 at 22:04
  • +1 for "People like you, who know enough to be on guard, are the most vulnerable". – Rupert Morrish Jan 23 at 23:41
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    In addition, this case is functioning in the exact opposite direction for a financial transfer for a sugar-baby arrangement. See my answer at money.stackexchange.com/questions/97274/… . A sugar daddy or momma will never open up to a sugar baby, its the other way around. The sugar daddy/momma wants control over the sugar baby which almost always includes financial control. Sugar arrangements are negative, but OPs case doesn't fit the usual pattern for a sugar relationship which points to a scam. – Freiheit Jan 24 at 1:34
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As with the majority of these questions... if it seems too good to be true, then it probably is.

My concern would be where she's getting the money from and, if she's offering to pay off your debts for nothing in return, then why? Also, you're claiming that she doesn't want any of your information, but it sounds like she already has it.

To answer your question, there is definitely a chance you'll get in to trouble for paying your debts with money from an unknown source. It could be from drugs, for laundering, from theft - who knows... but make sure you have nothing to do with it.

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    If she's offering to pay off your debts for something in return, I recommend using cash. – gnasher729 Jan 24 at 1:52

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