COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KRDO) — Scammers are targeting people looking for so-called “sugar” relationships in Colorado Springs, according to the Better Business Bureau of Southern Colorado.
“What con artists are doing is — they’re offering folks the ability for them to become their sugar mama or sugar daddy,” said Jonathan Liebert, CEO of the BBB of Southern Colorado. “In essence what that means they are now trying to scam you by telling you they are going to pay your bills.”
Typically, a sugar relationship consists of a sugar mama or sugar daddy offering money in exchange for affection from someone younger than them, often referred to as a sugar baby. Now, scammers are taking advantage of the increasing popularity of sugar relationships coupled with the loneliness and economic hardship suffered during the pandemic.
The BBB says scams in general increased dramatically in 2020. Liebert suspects this is just the beginning of this specific romance scam. The people posing as a sugar mama or sugar daddy will offer an allowance to the victims with one condition: the sugar baby needs to do a favor first.
“So the scammer’s going to say, once the money goes into your account, transfer some of that cash to their needy friend, pay an outstanding bill, or make a donation to a charity on their behalf,” said Liebert.
But the check never clears, leaving the victim out-of-pocket potentially thousands of dollars of their own money. 13 Investigates learned of one local teenager who overdrew their account by $2,500 after falling victim to a sugar mama scam. Someone else reported losing $19,000 to the BBB.
“The individuals they’re asking people to pay money to — is just the scammer on the other end,” said Liebert. “So that friend is them. That charity is theirs.”
Even if someone is offering you money with no strings attached, the BBB says you still need to be skeptical. Never give out personal or bank information to people you don’t know.
“It might not be that they’re trying to get the money from you today,” said Liebert. “It might be that they’re trying to get information from you today so that tomorrow they can make that withdrawal from your account.”
If you’re unsure, the Better Business Bureau of Southern Colorado welcomes phone calls: (719) 636-1155. You can also report a scam or check to see if someone else reported a scam on the BBB Scam Tracker.