Sugar babies are on the rise, and so are the number of sugar dating scams, according to the Better Business Bureau (BBB).
With sugar dating sites like Seeking Arrangements experiencing a 21 per cent increase in the number of Canadian members in 2021, and approximately 40 per cent of Canadian sugar babies now being students, it was only a matter of time before these types of scams started to become more prevalent.
One of the more recent public examples of one of these scams comes from Pitt Meadows, where a post-secondary student reported an incident from April 2022.
According to the BBB Scam Tracker, this student received an Instagram message from an older woman in Vermont who was looking for a sugar baby to help her feel less lonely after her divorce. In exchange, the scammer offered the student $500 per week for regular phone calls.
After the student provided her personal email and phone number, she was told that a third-party accountant would transfer the first week’s payment. But red flags started popping up when the scammer attempted to convince the student to donate a portion of the money to an orphanage of her choosing.
The student proceeded to cut off communications with the person, and has not heard back from the supposed sugar momma since.
Aaron Guillen, media specialist for BBB Serving Mainland B.C., explained that this is just one of many sugar-dating complaints submitted to the BBB Scam Tracker.
“BBB Scam Tracker has received reports of similar situations across North America, with the check or bank transfer being fake, and the orphanage or charity they suggest the ‘sugar baby’ support being operated by the same scammer, or an associate using a different name,” said Guillen.
To help prevent others from falling victim to these sugar-dating scams, the BBB has released a few safety tips:
• Don’t feel pressured to do anything you’re not comfortable with
• Don’t depend on sugar dating as your only form of income
• Properly vet profiles to avoid wasting your time
• Keep dating profiles separate from social media and don’t have information that can be easy to trace
• Meet in a public place that you’re familiar with
• Arrange your own transportation to and from the date
To report a scam, head to www.bbb.org/scamtracker.
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