“They ripped me off 8,100 euros on a ‘sugar daddies’ page. I want to tell about it so that no more victims fall” | Technology
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Pablo was concerned to talk to a psychologist friend last April. At 42 years old, he had spent five months chatting several hours a day with a 25-year-old girl from a nearby Galician province. He had met her on Seeking, a website focused on sugar daddies Y sugar babies, which are relationships in which the man, usually older than the woman, gives gifts or “help” in return. In total, he had given her €8,100, most of it through direct transfers to his account.
“Pablo, they are scamming you,” the psychologist friend told him. In five months of relationship they had seen each other only twice in public places. They didn’t even kiss. They had spoken a couple of times on the phone and the rest of the relationship was all on WhatsApp.
“When Pablo told me about it,” the psychologist explains to EL PAÍS, “I saw that they were too tragic stories, her role as a victim was excessive, everything had happened to her: an operation, a sick mother, financial problems, two careers.” Add. After speaking with his psychologist friend, Pablo wanted to confirm something and looked for an ex-boyfriend that the girl had mentioned. There were lots of details that didn’t add up. Not even the name she had told him was real. He showed her a photo to confirm that she was the same person. She was. “She has scammed Me”, Pablo concluded. Shortly after, he went to the police to file a complaint for “alleged fraud.”
EL PAÍS has spoken with both protagonists of this story, has seen hundreds, perhaps thousands, of WhatsApp messages, provided by the two. Both have asked to hide their names so as not to worsen their situation. Pablo was the one who contacted this newspaper. His goal was to spread his case to prevent other men from being victims because of his naivete: “I don’t want this girl to find more victims,” he says. It is not usual to be able to observe from the outside the guts of a relationship originated in a web of sugar daddies.
Regardless of who may be more right, according to a lawyer consulted by Pablo with whom EL PAÍS has spoken, the case could be a scam: “Maybe at first there was no desire to cheat or to get anything, but when she later saw the Filo, took advantage of the circumstance. There is a clear scam there, although then who knows what a judge can say, ”says the lawyer.
Like a trip to Rome
The story began in early December 2021. Both had created a Seeking account a few days before. Pablo had just suffered a disappointment in love and wanted to try something lighter than a apps traditional dating: “For me it was like someone going on a weekend trip to Rome to get a problem off their minds. I signed up and realized from the first conversations that it was not the relationship thing that I like, ”she explains.
In Seeking, the negotiation about money arises even before meeting for a first coffee. She was bored and decided to try: “I knew the web because I got news on the internet and I know people who were there, but I’m not going to talk about them, they are their moves,” she says.
In the process of accessing Seeking, in addition to defining whether men or women are preferred, it is asked if “beauty and charm” or “success and wealth” are sought, in addition to annual income and assets. Already inside, with a payment account, you can exchange messages with anyone. No one explicitly asks for money, but it’s clear from the context. Here are two real, verbatim examples active in early July: “College girl, blonde, big breasts, photo model. I am looking for a SugarDaddy to help me finance my studies and personal projects, in exchange for love” or “I am looking for a kind gentleman who contributes to the financing of my projects and supports me until professional success as a result of their creation” . It was originally called “seeking arrangement” (looking for deals) and a generous ticker described it this year as “the dating site for those who aspire to discover something better.”
Despite this evidence, Pablo thought he saw in the girl a person with whom he connected and who needed help. From the beginning, says Pablo, after some initial conversations about money, they agreed to “forget” that they had met on Seeking. There was only one problem: she did not forget it and created a story where almost everything was a lie. She justifies it with the fact that Seeking recommends hiding personal data or data that could lead to someone being identified, such as the university where she studies. Her initial story was something like this: she wanted to be a prosecutor, she was studying Law and Psychology, she had an extraordinary IQ, her mother was sick, her father had disappeared and at night she had to work in a pub in her city to survive.
He had also been in quarantine, had gum problems and his washing machine broke. Even her hustle and bustle landed her in the hospital after last summer’s exams. Most of these details were false. The girl does not explain which ones because they are part of her “private life”, and she adds that in addition to hiding, she did “the typical thing when you talk on the internet with someone and you invent things to look good”.
The first transfer: stop working
But this story of sorrow has already made Pablo succumb. After a week of chats with her and after having sent her money for the first time, he wrote to her: “Really, I am going to give you the money equivalent to your salary so that you stop working.” She replied: “It’s not really necessary, I don’t want to put you in charge, I already told you, you help me whatever you want whenever you want without pressure.” It was December 14, without any commas.
The unavoidable question is why Pablo gave money to someone he barely knew from the internet, one of the original and incomprehensible sins of digital fraud. According to his psychologist friend, he could suffer from “emotional dependence”. Pablo had his own explanation for it: “I was very impressed by his story. I felt emotional pressure listening to it. That’s where the issue was played. I asked for your account number. I insisted. I am a person who takes great care of the people I am with, couples and friends. I told her, not that she had to spot it. I gave him all the keys, my emotional situation, my history of other relationships, how I am, ”she explains.
The girl, on the other hand, had another, simpler version: “Imagine that you are on one of those websites, you are joking, you are bored in a postoperative period, you go online, you start talking to someone and they start giving you money as a gift. I didn’t rip anyone off. He was looking on that page to meet young girls and in the end I also developed a fondness for him. But he had started without telling her everything and did not see him as a person of the future, ”she says.
The girl also believes that his sexual pretensions play a role in his generosity: “I am not saying that he did not have moments when he liked to talk to me and how I was, but that he had more intentions and that is why he gave me money to soften me up, that’s for sure.” She has shared screenshots where they talk about fantasies and he tells her about past relationships where there were games linked to money.
Pablo insists that, despite these sexual comments “typical of a couple”, there was no coercion or request: “The central thing was the relationship of love, affection, care, support, pure and sincere that I felt for her and she said she felt for me”. It was an apparently sentimental relationship in which only one person believed: “My love developed for a person that she intentionally created to be impressive, and at the same time suffering and in need of help, a fictional character,” explains Pablo. In her captures there are affectionate messages from her: “You are an incredible person and I am very lucky that you are in my life”, for example.
400 hours of WhatsApp
The characteristics of this relationship are impossible without current technology and ways of relating. Seeking not only allows two people with common economic interests to be put in quick contact. WhatsApp was also the only channel of communication. According to Pablo’s calculations, they spoke about 400 hours. “Without WhatsApp nothing would have existed,” says the psychologist. “For various reasons: it is very impersonal even if it is a person on the other side, you do not pay attention to non-verbal communication, you have time to meditate on the answers, things are said that are not said to your face, you write with another language, there are more misunderstandings.”
So many hours of conversation give especially crazy stories. One of the most important is that she had been the girlfriend of xPeke, one of the best Spanish eSports players, who has also been publicly missing for more than a year. Ibai Llanos wanted to contact him for his new team and admitted that he had not even responded. He gave Paul up to three versions of how they had met. Neither was true, she now admits. She also said that she had a Galician mixed martial arts champion boyfriend.
In a conversation after the complaint, Pablo wrote down at least 23 things that he did not know if they were true, although he still does not know for sure. Among them, “the story of the child with cancer in the hospital did not happen to her, but she took it from another person”, “she does not have a good situation at home, they depend on the vital minimum”, “she does not have anemia, something with what he played throughout the relationship,” “says he thinks he has Asperger traits and OCD, but they are undiagnosed.” She accuses Pablo of being the one who “diagnosed” her Asperger’s.
After the complaint, Pablo received a call from a family lawyer of hers. She yelled at him and Pablo hung up. She then received five emails in weird Spanish that the girl insists she wrote herself. The messages are full of mistakes. “You can’t demand anything of me. If you gave me, by your own will as an adult, without my request you gave gifts without any commitment at the time to your free will, you cannot illicitly transform it now in an unreal way into a kind of credit without previously agreed conditions (vulgarly: Sta. Rita, Rita, Rita, what is given is not taken away)”.
In those emails there are captures of messages where Pablo talked about his heritage, his sexual fantasies and tax situation. Pablo asks to recover her money even if it is as “moral compensation”, even though he knows that she will declare insolvency. He also threatened to go to the media to reveal her attitude. In the end, he chose to tell her story anonymously to prevent more people from falling for these internet hoaxes. “Pablo is a vulnerable person, no matter how much cultural level and studies he has,” says the psychologist, “and there are people who are communicatively skilled, who penetrate people in five minutes, but Pablo didn’t want to see it.”
Pablo himself admits that if she had squeezed, he would still be hooked: “With a little more effort, I would have gotten twice as much,” he says. She sees it differently: “He’s not very well off the pot, he’s not going to get anything from me. If she wants me to do it judicially, ”she says.
If you have more information about this or similar cases, you can write to [email protected].
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