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I’ve been talking to a sugar daddy for a couple weeks now and he sent me a “prepaid” card which is now activated but he wants me to withdraw a large amount and deposit into his Bitcoin wallet. Is this some sort of scam?

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Yes it is. You might want to check out some of the other questions on this site tagged or . Cut off contact with this person and do not have anything further to do with them.

Almost certainly the prepaid card was not his own money but stolen from another victim. He is trying to use you to launder the money.

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    And don’t use the card! – James McLeod Sep 1 '20 at 23:56
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    OP is not in serious legal trouble. She was given a gift that she had know idea was stolen or illicit. The police are not going to sweep up one individual. – Freiheit Sep 2 '20 at 13:11
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    I'd add in a bit about reporting this to the police or other appropriate authorities, which includes giving them the card. If it somehow turns out this isn't a scam, the card should be returned and they can safely use it. If this is the scam it likely is, it's one more way to track the person(s) putting it on and helping to stop them from scamming other people. – computercarguy Sep 2 '20 at 16:59
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    At this point in time, we should probably have a warning about "Sugar Daddies" in the header of this site. It's always a scam, every time. Nobody is sending you thousands of dollars for some nude pics... you aren't that special nor good looking, and you can get pics for free on the internet. Use your head people. – SnakeDoc Sep 2 '20 at 22:44
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    @SnakeDoc I think it's more likely that any time that a "Sugar Daddy" does something that'd provoke someone into asking a Question on here that it's a scam. There's some really thirsty simps out there. Just look at how angry the girls on OnlyFans were after the site implemented a maximum payment amount after one girl scammed thousands of guys hundreds of dollars each, and then the site had to handle lots of them doing credit card chargebacks over it. – nick012000 Sep 3 '20 at 3:16
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HUGE scam. Gigantic scam.

Bitcoin is a money transaction that is irreversible. Once sent, it can't be reversed, EVER. Anytime person X sends you money, and then wants money back via an irreversible transaction -- that's always a scam.

Some other irreversible methods are Western Union and Zelle. But there are still others.

The money they send you is sent via a reversible method. See how that works? After you send money in a way you can't undo, they undo their original payment to you.

And leave you holding the bag.

(and yes, quite often that money was stolen from another victim, possibly a victim of something else like hacking or identity theft). These crime rings are actually fairly complex and have teams of people working different specialties.

It hurts because you think they care

It is, after all, a confidence game: the objective is to tangle you up in emotions so you'll do crazy things with money. So it can be very hurtful to discover (and admit) they only want you as a scam victim.

If you really, really, really want to believe this is the real deal, then see how they react to alternate ways of paying them, which would break their scam. See how they react to the proposal. (don't actually do any of this; just propose it).

  • Ask for their PayPal email address (do not under any circumstances let them send you a link; do not click any link!!) and tell them that you'll make a PayPal merchandise payment. (often reversible due to PayPal Buyer Protection.)
  • Offer to send their own gift card back to them.

If they work hard to convince you not to, that's the sure sign of a scammer.

Again don't actually do those things; if you did, they'd have you send the money to yet another scam victim, and you'd just be continuing the scam.

It also tends to help in these cases to absolutely insist on video chat for all communications. That will usually make scammers go away, because they don't have any humans in the crime syndicate who look like the pictures they sent.

You can also use Google "reverse image search" to find the source of those pictures. Many scammers just grab handsome photos off the Internet.

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  • I was with you up until the last part. Don't use PayPal. money.stackexchange.com/questions/130084/… Just don't change money for people over "change for a 20". If you feel the urgent need to do something, use Google for 30 seconds and send the person a link to a service that will convert whatever type of currency they have ("buy bitcoin with prepaid card" returns 2.4 MILLION results). – user3067860 Sep 2 '20 at 18:03
  • @user3067860 In that case the victim disregarded my "don't send as gift" advice. If it had been sent as payment for merchandise, PayPal would have cheerfully reversed it under Buyer Protection 'item not as described'. But I'll clarify I only mean it as a scammer test, not to actually send the money. – Harper - Reinstate Monica Sep 2 '20 at 18:12
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    @Acccumulation Zelle sternly warns people not to send money to anyone they don't trust, and they back up the "not reversible" narrative with every single thing they say. Maybe they're lying to discourage casual reversals, but I don't want to put it to the test. Gift card value can be canceled by the issuer. – Harper - Reinstate Monica Sep 3 '20 at 5:52
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    Can you elaborate on how a prepaid card can be reversible? If OP goes to an ATM and uses the card to withdraw cash, how could that be reversed? – Robert Sep 3 '20 at 22:14
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    @Robert The scammer can have the victim go online and confirm the card has value, after that the scammer (or other victim) removes the value, then victim goes to cash out card, no funds. – Harper - Reinstate Monica Sep 4 '20 at 1:41
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I must reply to Harper.

Judging from the question, facts mentioned in the answer are not necessarily happening that way. Indeed, that's a scam.

he sent me a “prepaid” card which is now activated

Whose card is that? It shouldn't be on your name. A sugar daddy normally sends his own card to support the OP, who whithdraws money from the card for their own use at the amounts agreed with the daddy. The daddy may also want to use a prepaid card so that the OP never drains the SD's account.

But if you sent your ID to the SD previously, my answer must stop here. That fact is not disclosed in the question, so I assume not.

Bitcoin transfers are irreversible, bank transfers are reversible

These transfers come from scams/laundering

The above are facts.

Now, what happens is that the transfers made to the prepaid card (whether it has an IBAN associated or not) can be reversed, and the person holding the card's name can be prosecuted for refund. I don't know the correct English word, but with prosecuted I don't (yet) mean criminal proceedings, but at least a plethora of creditors chasing the card holder for life until debt is repaid. And debt can be considerable.

So, assuming the SD sent his own card, he is accountable for the debt that eventually reaches the card.

Of course, it is likely that the SD, being part of a crime group, is not using his real ID to obtain a payment card. And that is another part of the story.

Money laundering is a crime

By actively transferring Bitcoins to your SD, you are surely helping a criminal. For now, I want to assume that only the SD has your contact details and knows who you are or who you claim to be.

Withdrawing money from a card with the purpose of sending Bitcoins is being a collateral in crime, and you could be prosecuted for that.

While your name may not be on the card, your face can be recorded by ATM security cameras, so the cops may come to you one day or another. Even if they won't find you (or the amounts laundered are not big enough to justify expensive investigations), you are still helping crime and we must warn you about it. As you are responsible for your own choices.

Blackmail spiral

There is also another risk. After you enter in this loop, the SD may reveal that you are helping criminals launder money. Leveraging your weakness, the SD may turn you into collateral for additional crime, and subjugate you to his will. Threatening to sue you, to tell your name to the cops, for example.

Because, as we are telling you, withdrawing someone else's money to send Bitcoins is source for money laundering.

The difference

IMO the difference with Harper's answer lies in this statement

After you send money in a way you can't undo, they undo their original payment to you. And leave you holding the bag.

If the card is not under the OP's name, the OP won't suffer the reverse charge and the payment won't be undone on the OP. I don't think that is the point. If I manage to obtain a card under someone's name and put that card into deep red balance, the bank will go find the person whose name is on the card. Who will be held repsonsible until contrary is proven.

Note that I said "if I manage to obtain (a card under someone's name)" and I never hypothesized how do I.

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    Who said the prepaid card has a name on it? – JimmyJames Sep 4 '20 at 18:51

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