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I met a guy on a sugar daddy dating site and we talked, I told him my situation and he said he would help. So he asked for my bank account information and I told him you can use cash app or PayPal to go through but he said his account manager deals with his finances. So I set up an account with a bank that I don’t use so that my primary account isn’t up . Eventually he was in the process of sending me money and we had agreed on a amount that wasn’t crazy. But then he asked for my address and I asked why and he said just wondering. Then said he wanted to send me a surprise for being his baby. Which I didn’t give. Then later on he sent the money and said he sent me a bonus and that I was supposed to use that to pay his mothers caregiver, which he didn’t mention until after. I kept questioning him and he was saying that he works in construction and he’s trusting me to carry out the errand. Then he said don’t let him down and I asked him if he was threatening me and he kept saying I need this done but didn’t really answer my question. Am I being scammed? I’m about to change my password but is this a scam?

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    If he has an "account manager" (which doesn't mean what he apparently thinks it means), then the "account manager" can pay his mother's caregiver. And send you money via Cash or PayPal. IOW, you're right that he's trying to scam you. Hopefully you haven't spent the money he's sent you! – RonJohn Jun 11 at 0:47
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    @BobBaerker - this would be a great issue to take to Meta. I am thinking there are probably three or four common scams that would account for over 95% of the scam questions. If we identify those questions and maybe edit them for clarity I can add them to the frequently asked question list and we can be quicker to close most of these as duplicates. Happy to hear your thoughts on this. – JTP - Apologise to Monica Jun 11 at 10:56
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    @ChatterOne: there was a question when someone asked, is this a scam, but it wasn't: money.stackexchange.com/questions/101935/… have more faith in humankind – Quora Feans Jun 11 at 12:28
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    I think the risk with turning "is it a scam?" into an FAQ(s) describing common scams, and closing new questions as dupes, is that the people who are asking these questions are often so completely conned that even reading an FAQ that roughly matches their situation might not be as convincing as having real people read their exact scenario and give timely, specific, personal answers that directly address what's happening for them as it unfolds. Just some food for thought. I'd be happy to discuss further in meta if a question gets posted there (I don't see one yet). – dwizum Jun 11 at 13:44
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    We are now discussing the issue of scam questions at Meta - Should we have canonical scam questions? - Please do not add more discussion to this question. – JTP - Apologise to Monica Jun 12 at 9:48
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Yes you are being scammed.

Nobody sends you free money if they don't know you. And nobody with an 'account manager' needs you to send money to their mother's caretaker. And more importantly the pattern of "I'll send you money and then you send some of it to someone else" is a classic scam.

You can read the details in other questions, and there are variations, but in this case, after you have sent the money to the caregiver, it will turn out that the money deposited to your account wasn't real, or the deposit will be reversed, leaving the amount you sent out of your pocket into the scammer's.

And yes, the bank will come after you for the money you now owe them.

Your best course of action here is to do absolutely nothing with any money. If you provided a password change it immediately. If the money had not yet arrived in the account I would recommend you should probably close it. Tell the scammer that you are not going to forward any money, or better still break off contact with them entirely.

You might consider reporting the incident to an anti-fraud or anti-scam unit near you.

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    The whole idea of those "sugar daddy" arrangements is that people send money to other people in exchange for dating them, so that part isn't suspicious. The suspicious part is that the "sugar daddy" expects the "sugar baby" to forward part of the money to a 3rd party. – Philipp Jun 11 at 8:39
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    Money laundering is also a possibility – Jungkook Jun 11 at 9:22
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    @Philipp Even sugar daddies don't send money to people they know nothing about. And the vast majority of sugar daddies expect....certain favours from the people they pay. – DJClayworth Jun 11 at 13:24
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    @vsz I think not revealing your home address before even the first date is a very reasonable self-protection measure - no matter if you are talking about compensated or non-compensated dating. If you date someone for the first time, you should always meet in a public place. – Philipp Jun 11 at 14:03
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    To provide some insight (which to be clear I've gained via working in the financial industry, not via participating in this social construct). it is very common both for sugar daddies to send money to people they haven't met in person, and for sugar relationships to never materialize in the real world and be completely online. These factors make them a huge target for scammers, because sending money to someone you don't know isn't a red flag and it's easy to remain anonymous behind a fake identity. – dwizum Jun 11 at 14:18
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As other answers have pointed out, this is almost certainly a scam - there are some nuances to the "sugar daddy" aspect, but there are also some very obvious red flags.

  • Insistence on transfers via specific methods. Some non-scammers may be picky about how they transfer money, but scammers are almost always interested in forcing transactions via specific channels, because they believe these channels will allow them to be more successful. In other words, the scam doesn't work if they use paypal.

  • Sudden change in terms that involves "extra" money, which you're supposed to send somewhere else. The fact that the daddy suddenly sent you extra money and wants you to send it somewhere else is a red flag. People behaving legitimately have no need for a middleman to move money. Ask yourself this: If the daddy is capable of sending you money, and can describe to you how to send it to this caregiver, why can't they just send it to the caregiver themselves?

  • Questions about personal details that aren't relevant to the relationship - he asked about your address and didn't have a good reason why. That's a red flag. Him having your address would have likely allowed him to further the scam, since it's something he can use to impersonate you or steal from you - for instance, if he phoned your bank and tried to pretend to be you, knowing your address (and other things like your account number and/or birthdate) would have allowed him to do a better job of convincing the bank that he was really you.

Generally, these scams play out in one of two ways:

  • The money was never "real" and you'll soon find that their deposit into your account has been reversed. If they send you $1,000 and tell you to send $500 somewhere else, and then the $1,000 disappears after you have sent out the $500, the bank will come after you for the missing money. You will be $500 poorer, and the scammer will have made an easy (and likely unrecoverable) $500.

  • The money is real but it is "dirty" - the scammer may be a criminal or a terrorist, and may be sending real money through you as a way to launder it. In that same scenario, they may be happy to "lose" the $500 you kept, in order to have a "clean" $500 deposited in a different account - money laundering is a cost of doing business for criminals, and at the end of the day, if or when they are found out by law enforcement, you will be the one who gets in trouble - the FBI will come knocking on your door.

The second version has another common variation, too, that's more or less a pure kiting scheme and not based on laundering money they obtained somewhere else: The money may be "real" but from a stolen account. If this scammer is scamming several targets, they may have access to several real bank accounts with balances. What they typically do is shuffle money between their targets as a way to wash it. So, if they deposit that $1,000 into your account, that $1,000 may simply be them stealing money from another target. Ultimately, then, the $500 they ask you to move somewhere else is the percentage they're keeping for themselves. If they ask for your bank credentials (i.e. username and password to get into online banking) this is almost certainly the version they're following.

It's notable that sugar daddy dating websites and other romance-related social media are common scamming targets. This is because people on these websites are often so interested in participating in these social constructs that they're willing to ignore red flags. Also, it's common in sugar daddy relationships for money to be flaunted, and for money to change hands "easily" as a way of showing off - so, people who are victims of these scams may not be put off by "someone they don't know" suddenly sending them a lot of money, whereas the general public may be skeptical of "free money."

At the end of the day, Is this a scam? is only the first question you need an answer to. The second question is, what should I do?

If you've identified that you're the victim of a scam, you should:

  • Notify your financial institution. If you have sent or received money, or you have shared any details about your bank account or any method to access it (i.e. online banking credentials, a mobile banking app, etc). you should notify your bank immediately. They can help you determine what you need to do to be safe. It sounds like you've given at least some information to the scammer since you mentioned changing your password - even if you think you can keep yourself safe by changing a password or closing an account, you should mention the scam to your bank. Scammers sometimes target specific channels, or even specific financial institutions, since they believe they can be more successful that way. For instance, scammers will sometimes ask their target to open a new account at a specific bank, because they know the triggers that bank uses for mobile check deposits, or online banking transfers. Banks need to know about scams in order to help protect people against them. Even if you can keep yourself safe, informing your bank will help keep other people safe.

  • Inform the online community via which you met this scammer. You mentioned that you met the daddy on a sugar daddy dating website. That website may be interested in taking action against this scammer - at the least, blocking their account. But, they may already have a strong law enforcement relationship, and informing them of the scam will help them either track the person down, or prevent future scams (by introducing controls in their web platform, or tracking the person's IPs or taking other investigative actions).

  • Spend some time learning about common scams and how to avoid them. Regardless of what happens with this daddy, you should recognize that participating in sugar daddy relationships online is very risky due to the frequency at which they involve scams. Educating yourself on this scam, and other common scams, will help prevent issues in the future. Your instinct to use a secure payment method was important and should not be ignored. Talk to your financial institution, they may have educational programs or materials you can review to help you understand what you can do to keep your finances safe.

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    Not sure about the "personal details that aren't relevant to the relationship". If, hypothetically, the relationship were genuine, wouldn't it be natural that each party knows the other one's address -- and has been there -- long before any commingling of economies takes place? I'd say the fact that there's talk of transferring money without already knowing each other well enough to have addresses is the red flag. – Henning Makholm Jun 11 at 15:02
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    (On the other hand, if "suggar daddy dating site" is a euphemism for a peer-to-peer online pimping service, and the parties still don't even know each other's physical location, then where the deuce was the, erm, transaction going to be consummated in the first place?) – Henning Makholm Jun 11 at 15:08
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    I think you're asking great questions that show the differences between what an average person would assume, vs someone interested in these activities (who, unfortunately, would be more likely to fall victim of the scam). Besides the typical, real-world example of sugar relationships, there's a fairly vast online community of virtual equivalents, where the fact that you're never going to meet in real life is assumed (and may even be part of the draw): the "consummation" takes place via video, photo, text, or other digital means (all of which are commonly faked). – dwizum Jun 11 at 15:30
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    @HenningMakholm In addition to dwizum's comment: Even relationships that both parties want to materialize in the real world would likely start virtual with some monetary gifts and some socialising at the start and meetings only later - assuming the relationship is started via online dating. That's similar to what happens in "normal" online dating relationships. First you swipe and chat, then, you may exchange more private information or (half-)naked pictures etc. Then you might meet in a public place, perhaps one inviting the other etc. and only a few steps later might you learn addresses. – Frank Hopkins Jun 11 at 19:27
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    I would note that the part about the website having a "strong relationship with law enforcement" may vary dramatically by jurisdiction as to the nature of that relationship with law enforcement. In many jurisdictions, engaging in and/or facilitating prostitution is itself a crime. In many jurisdictions, a website of this nature would have roughly the same sort of "relationship with law enforcement" that Silk Road had. – reirab Jun 11 at 21:05
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Asking you to send money onward means scam

There's always a screwball story about how you must send on some of the money they sent you. This is how they get money out of the deal.

The money you send is actually your money. They make you think it's their money by the theater of sending you a check or transfer. But after you send the money along, the transfer will fail, reverse or bounce. However you will not be able to reverse the money you sent along, because they had you send it in a way that‘s not reversible.

All the stuff that came before, is just to gain your confidence, that's why they call it a CONfidence game.

It's very likely the original payment to you will also reverse. You can't do anything about that, but expect it to happen and brace yourself.

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