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I’ve never had a sugar daddy before but my friend recently created an account on SeekingArrangement and met a very trustworthy guy on there and told me to try it out. And I did.

We talked for a few weeks and I felt I trusted him. We would send pictures, etc. He offered to pay off my credit card, which I agreed to, and gave him information on my account. He made a payment of 1,000 but the next day it was reversed. He had some excuse and offered to make a payment into my debit card, which I also agreed to, as this was a different bank account I don’t use and have no money in. He made a payment of 1,900 but it was again reversed. He asked me to send 1,850 to his “vendor” and he would make another payment for me. I made the payment on PayPal Thinking I had the money but then the bank also reversed the payment of 1,900 so now I’m negative 1,850 in my bank account. I tried to contact PayPal and get a refund or dispute it and was denied.

Is there anything I can do about this? Can I tell my bank without explaining the whole story?

I know I’m very stupid for agreeing to this and I’m very embarrassed but at this point, I just want my account back to normal. No need for rude comments; I’m already very aware of the mistake I made.

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    If you are not already aware, watch out for more scams to you, some scammers as lawyers and the pretext could be to get back your money... – Dheer Aug 20 at 15:00
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    No criticism, just trying to help future visitors. What is your relationship with "my friend"? Do you know them in real life, or is it an on line friend? – JTP - Apologise to Monica Aug 20 at 15:14
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    Yes I know them in real life – Rose Aug 20 at 15:44
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    There's a pretty good chance your friend is being scammed (or going to be scammed) as well. You say they "met a very trustworthy guy" on there, but you presumably thought the person you met on there was trustworthy as well. – David Schwartz Aug 20 at 19:17
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    Also: 'gave him information on my account' make absolutely sure they cannot use either account of yours to scam others or to use you as a money-mule. Change passwords, notify your bank. – Ivana Aug 21 at 10:56
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  1. There's absolutely no need to be embarrassed. This happens constantly, hundreds of times a day. The people you speak to at PayPal and other companies won't even notice or remember you it is so common. So nothing to worry about.

  2. All you can do is constantly dispute it with PayPal or other relevant parties.

Good luck.


Footnote: would probably achieve nothing, but you might want to notify the web site (or whatever) in question. Perhaps at least they will close that account.

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    What about calling the police? These scammers rarely get caught, but it seems OP might have some leads on how to find this guy. – Daniel Aug 21 at 3:00
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    @Daniel That's a good idea, but O.P. has to get through the embarassment first. Even though there's nothing to be embarassed about. – Ismael Miguel Aug 21 at 11:06
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    I agree with this answer. This person is almost certainly an experienced and serial con-artist. If they've done it to you, they've done it to many. Let's face it, either you have to swallow your embarrassment or you have to swallow the debt. Decide which is more important to you. P.S. You don't have to admit to it being a sugar-daddy arrangement - you can call it an online romance. Good luck either way. – chasly - supports Monica Aug 21 at 11:43
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    @Daniel Even if OP does call the police, that won't be the end of it. They'll have to provide what evidence they have in court. They may even need to file the lawsuit themselves, which is neither cheap nor quick. Given that OP doesn't even want to tell the bank the whole story, will she be willing to go into the depths of detail that lawyers will probe her for? Multiple times, potentially over several years? I agree it would be nice to see the guy behind bars, but getting him there will require more than one quick phone call. – Steve-O Aug 21 at 13:54
  • @Steve-O How difficult and expensive it is depends a lot on the locations of both. – Volker Siegel Aug 23 at 15:30
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This is a large-scale scam operation

This is not a local, inside-the-USA "sugar daddy" who loves you but is a jerk with money.

This is an international scam operation that is working scams against many Americans at the same time, and crossing them up against each other. The perpetrators are in Pakistan, Belarus, Yemen or some other location beyond the reach of US extradition. These people are professional and smart.

Your first $1000 came from another American, who was either conned into sending the money, or simply their bank account was hacked. This was reversed quickly because it was discovered. Scammers try this a lot, hoping to luck onto a bank account that isn't watched very closely, e.g. of a senior citizen.

The second $1900 was pretty much the same thing. This time they got lucky, and the money stayed around long enough to "con" you into wiring them $1850 of it. And you should not have done that because it violated banking and money-laundering laws (sending money because someone sent you money is how terror is financed).

You don't really have any recourse over the poor soul who sent you the $1900. They too are victims of a scam. Your only recourse is to reverse the $1850 PayPal payment, and you need to work very forcefully with PayPal to get this done. And you need to hurry.

It may be helpful to file a police report, but keep in mind your local Barney Fife isn't going to investigate an international swindling ring. It ain't gonna happen. The value of a police report is that lying on a police report for personal gain is a serious crime with huge consequences if caught. Which means companies like PayPal will take your claim more seriously if you swore a police report.

Lessons learned

Never, ever, ever send money on PayPal in "Friends and Family" mode, which is almost irreversible. (and I bet it said that, and I bet you ignored it).

  • Only use "Purchases" mode which gives you Buyer Protection (reversibility).

  • Likewise, NEVER send Zelle. In fact don't even sign up for it. It's the same problem; it's irreversible.

  • Likewise, NEVER send Western Union. There is no reason to ever use that. Anyone asking you to is always a scammer (especially if it's a family member saying they are in trouble in a foreign country blah blah).

Never even tie PayPal to a bank account nor debit card. Use a credit card only with PayPal. This protects you better from these kinds of scams.

Never, ever, ever send money back to someone who sent you money. Especially never send the money back a different way than they sent you. Even if this didn’t happen, it would be money laundering. If someone "overpaid" you, ask your banker or PayPal how to internally cancel/reverse the entire transaction -- this is not a second transaction in the other direction, this is nullifying the transaction. And then have them send you the correct amount of money. Generally overpaying is always a scam.

People on"Sugar daddy" sites are often scammers because it's so easy for criminals to sit in Yemen and pretend to be someone who loves you, and the power of those emotions make it very easy for them to work confidence games.

Generally the idea of "something for nothing" should be viewed with distrust.

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    Even though it is likely the "sugar daddy" is most probably abroad, there is not certainty about this. There are scammers in the US like everywhere else! – jcaron Aug 22 at 23:35
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Honestly, it seems like your best course of action is the police. Save everything you have from this man (literally everything), and turn it over to law enforcement. In general, it's possible to get information from photos, financial information, etc. Hopefully, this will be enough to track him down.

This tool is a tool for viewing metadata of images. If he's sent you any images, you can try downloading them and uploading them here in order to (potentially) get information about the device he was using and the location he used. Similarly, see if there's any information on his site profile that could give further information. However, you probably won't have access to the same resources and experience with this sort of intelligence gathering as law enforcement, so I strongly suggest that you turn to them, even if it's awkward or difficult.

Sorry that you had to go through this, and sorry on behalf of people here who think it's funny or that you deserve this.

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    I've upvoted your answer, but I have to say this: "Sorry that you had to go through this, and sorry on behalf of people here who think it's funny or that you deserve this." <-- this bit is totally unnecessary. I haven't seen a single comment saying this is funny or saying that O.P. deserves it. And if any showed up, they seem to have been taken care of. This type of scam is very common, not only on this situation but with videogame items. And in other situations as well. – Ismael Miguel Aug 21 at 11:05
  • @IsmaelMiguel, there was a negative comment that was heavily downvoted, which expressed what Ira wrote on that line, so, in my opinion, it was not totally unnecessary. – Arriel Aug 21 at 15:21
  • The police are not going to get you anything but a police report, which you need to give your insurance company (unlikely). Barney Fife is not going to chase down an international swindling ring. – Harper - Reinstate Monica Aug 21 at 15:25
  • @Arriel did you mean a negative answer (which presumably have been deleted)? Comments cannot be downvoted though. – Andrew T. Aug 21 at 16:37
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    Most of the time scammers like this use stock photos or photos taken from someone else's social media page, completely unrelated to the actual person(s) running the scam. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Romance_scam#Stolen_images (In fact they use entirely made up details--name, age, gender, location, etc., all usually entirely fictitious or stolen.) You can certainly try contacting law enforcement, but it's unlikely that they will get any of your money back. – user3067860 Aug 21 at 17:23
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TELL THE COPS

I cannot stress this enough. Tell your local Police Department, tell the FBI, tell your FBI equivalent if you're not in the US.

Having said that, there's generally not a lot they can do for you that your bank/paypal won't be able to. If you have dude's phone number/email that's okay, but there's a good chance they're burner phones and worthless emails. If you have his bank account though he's trackable and traceable and it really isn't that hard at all. The problem is it DOES take a lot of time. You're only out about $2,000.00. Now that's a lot of money for you and a lot of people, but it's unlikely they'll work up an investigation just on that. Local PD might, but every man-hour spent working through the pile of data to find your guy is one spent doing that instead of, say, arresting that drunk driver or abusive spouse or digging through the data on that guy who scammed granny out of $10,000.00 etc etc. The FBI CERTAINLY will not open a case based on your $2,000.00 loss, it's way below their minimum investigative threshold for things like this.

But what telling the cops WILL do is get that guys name and identifiers into a database. It'll get that name and those identifiers SEARCHED in said databases. If you tell the FBI it'll get THEM to run a search, and they have more and better databases. Maybe this isn't guy's first scam, or maybe that number you gave them is connected to 50 other similar complaints they never got bank details for, and now the total loss associated with the guy is $300,000.00. Suddenly they ARE interested and your info helps get dude arrested. Or maybe it's the first time they've heard of it so it gets filed away until the next person calls, and they have the key piece that gets it placed on the front-burner and gets the guy caught.

TL/DR Tell the cops because it helps build a database of scammers that will lead to more arrests and convictions for these sorts of scams overall, not because it'll necessarily help you personally right this second.

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  • It's really hard for law enforcement to deal with these types of crimes because usually the scammer(s) don't use their real names or details. Photos are usually stock photos or stolen from other people's social media (completely unrelated to the scammer(s)). Even the bank accounts the transactions were from were likely stolen, which is why the transactions were reversed so quickly (overpayment scam+romance scam). – user3067860 Aug 21 at 17:37
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    The cops will do nothing because they don't know how to deal with jurisdiction issues. The only possible way to get them to help is prove the person lives in their district/precinct or made a call from there. You can make a police report, but nothing will ever happen. Sometimes this may help get paypal to reverse but let it be known... no cop will spend more than 5 minutes on the "case". – blankip Aug 21 at 18:56
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Years ago, I used to work at the company ("InfoStream Group" at the time) that owned SA, although I NEVER worked on any of their dating sites for my own moral & ethical reasons -- however, from having sat in the open-space office and heard of all the disaster and horror stories from that side of the office, I can at least tell you that you will probably not get willing support from the company if you need them to corroborate your case to the police or any one else. IMHO, the owner is a pimp and an absolute scum bag excuse of a human .. I believe he'll do more to defend the SD than you. As you have hopefully learned by now, the SD scene is a bad one with bad people (IMHO) and the people at the top of that crap pile are the worst ... IMHO. Please never get involved with the SD scene ever again.

Before going on ... I am not an attorney .. this is not legal advice:

The police wont help you much further than filing a report because its not their job to make a legal judgement so I have no idea why people are suggesting that. That's what courts are for. You would need to file in small claims court to get a judgement. I suggest you consider filing a claim both against the SD in whatever state he is in; the parent company of SA, which is currently Reflex Media, based in Nevada; and finally, Brandon Wade, the owner of the company. Since the amount in question is under $2000, I would imagine that it would be cheaper for Reflex Media and/or Brandon to just quickly settle with you rather than pay attorney fees in excess of the amount you are seeking. Note however that they will presumably want some sort of concession for the settlement, such as you signing agreement of some sort, which is designed to hide the details of the settlement or something of some nature that will not publicly harm their reputation.

You might also want to do some research and see if there is an attorney that has ever sued them before that is willing to do pro-bono work for you, at least in getting your case filed. Or perhaps an attorney that will take your case on a contingency basis -- although I doubt you'll be successful there.

On the other hand, I suggest that you brace yourself for the fact that you will never get your cash back and at some point you might have to just accept the loss and move on with life, for the sake of a healthy state of mind. In the meantime if you need something to do with any pent up anger, perhaps you can direct it to bringing to light your story so that other people can learn from your mistake and stay far away from the SD scene and the disgusting sub-human scumbags that exist therein.

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  • Note, even if Reflex Media or Brandon settled with you for $500, just to make a court case go away .. at least that might be better than a total loss for you. Something to think about. – StartupGuy Aug 21 at 18:16
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    Why would a service provider be responsible for such a thing? Would Facebook be held responsible if a scammer used their chat to contact a victim? Also, the scammer in this situation probably used a fake name, fake pictures, and might be living on a different continent. – vsz Aug 21 at 19:43
  • @vsz This happens all the time that sites like FB are held responsible. Just google "facebook sued". If the scammer got away with verifying with fake info and therefore SA's verification process through TCLogic is actually not as competent as they claim it to be .. then that's fraud. So yes, the are very much liable. – StartupGuy Aug 21 at 21:39
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    Also, you have to realize that sites that often become the targets of scammers and make the news become liable if there are known victimization taking place, and they don't take proper steps to protect the public interest. This is true whether or not there are specific laws for the infractions or styles of abuses taking place. Society holds businesses accountable for effectively allowing crime on their sites, even if they are not the ones actively engaging in the crimes. - Do some research, you'll see SA gets sued a lot. – StartupGuy Aug 21 at 21:48
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You have to tell your bank and have a police report. This will help with paypal reversing and you better do this ASAP.

You are going to have a really hard time convincing paypal and others to help you because this is a case of Morality vs Legality.

Legally you may have a stance but it is a thin one and falls flat. However you seem just as much part of the scammer's scam as him/her. You sent someone $1850 for an unknown reason. The only logical reason someone would send you $1900 back would be to launder the money which you are basically telling the cops you are an accomplice. There is certainly no legally justified reason someone sends you money and you send them less back.

From a moral point of view - and morality isn't part of laws but it sure is part of people enforcing the laws - you are also culpable. You felt that if you talked "nice" to someone, acted like a victim, sent them pictures and so on that they owed you something like $1900. Well guess what that person also did the same thing for you and they only wanted $1850. Call it a life lesson and if you lead the rest of your life with morals now saying "I will not try to use people for money", then the $1850 was well worth it.

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  • Paypal doesn't reverse payments when there's no physical shipping involved. – Quora Feans Aug 22 at 22:23
  • Balderdash, virtual sugar daddy is no more wrong than Patreon or the Twitch model of taking donations from people watching your live feed or your Youtube channel. That can be gaming, auto repair, politics or 1000 other things. You are saying it's bad because it is sexy. – Harper - Reinstate Monica Aug 23 at 15:17

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