Scammers are using social media to target young women with offers to be their “sugar daddy,” according to Laura Josepha Zimmermann at Avast. Zimmermann received a message on Instagram from a user who appeared to be an older man. The user stated, “Hey my name is Walker and I am looking for a sugar baby. I would like to pay you 1,500 Euro weekly.” The scammer then sent a screenshot of a fake PayPal transaction, and told Zimmermann that she would need to send him some money via a Google Play card in order to activate the account and receive the €1,500.

“[A]spiring ‘sugar daddies’ lure in their victims through direct messages on Instagram with messages that sound (and are) too good to be true,” Zimmermann says. “They first try to gain your trust and before carrying on with requesting payment. When they do get around to requesting payment “verification”, these scammers will disappear as soon as the money is sent and has come into their possession. The payment for the verification is mostly done over prepaid cards, like Google Play or Amazon Cards. These are payment methods that can’t easily be refunded.”

Fortunately, Zimmermann recognized this as a scam immediately and blocked the user after stringing him along to see what he would say, but she notes that this type of scam is common.

“This scam is far from unique nowadays — many young women are affected by similar ploys from cybercriminals across the globe,” Zimmermann writes. “Some of these women may have a difficult financial situation and could use the money. Alternatively, they may just be looking for a certain standard of living that they can’t otherwise afford. The alleged ‘sugar daddies’ exploit these situations to make a profit — and end up causing a lot of damage.”

Zimmermann offers the following recommendations to avoid falling for these scams:

“Don’t answer messages from people you don’t know. If you’re in doubt, look into their profile to see if there’s anything fishy about it.

“Ignore any messages promising free money. Plain and simple.

“Don’t give your personal details to strangers. You wouldn’t do it in person, so why do it on the internet?

“Do your research. If you’d like to validate any message that you receive, there are plenty of resources from other people who have encountered similar types of scams. Read through forums and relevant online groups to obtain more information.”

So it’s the old Nigerian prince advance fee scam reinvented for the sugar community. Stay clear. New-school security awareness training can enable your employees to recognize social engineering tactics.