What to Do If You Are Being Blackmailed By Your Sugar Baby
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In today’s world of online dating, sugar baby and sugar daddy relationships are increasingly prevalent. But these relationships are often precarious at best—and it is not uncommon for them to end in bitterness, resentment, and even blackmail or extortion.
If you are being blackmailed by your sugar baby, you should take the following steps:
- Cut off all contact with the sugar baby,
- Document all evidence of your communication,
- Lock down your online presence,
- Work with an experienced internet blackmail attorney,
- Consider reporting your case to law enforcement, and
- File a complaint with the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3).
At Minc Law, we have proven experience helping victims of online blackmail and extortion put an end to harassment. Even if a sugar baby has already published or distributed sensitive content about you online, our team can pursue civil remedies such as injunctions, emergency restraining orders, or civil lawsuits to obtain immediate relief. We can help you navigate this delicate situation appropriately to end the relationship and minimize drawing unwanted attention to the matter.
In this article, we define a sugar baby relationship and how sugar baby blackmail usually happens. We then provide actionable tips for dealing with blackmail—and how to prevent it from happening in the first place.
What is a Sugar Baby & Sugar Daddy Relationship?
“Sugar dating” relationships are on the rise—and with them comes the potential for blackmail and extortion.
The intersection of modern technology, online, and financial incentives creates a perfect storm for blackmail. In this section, we explain how sugar dating works and whether it is legal.
How Does a Sugar Daddy & Sugar Baby Relationship Work?
In a sugar dating scenario, a “sugar daddy” or “sugar momma” financially supports or gives gifts to their “sugar baby.” In exchange, the sugar baby provides sexual or non-sexual companionship and favors.
The stereotypical scenario for this type of relationship is that an older man financially supports a younger woman. But it is important to note that while “sugar daddy” and “sugar momma” are gendered terms, anyone of any gender can play any role in a sugar dating relationship.
Sugar baby relationships typically start online on websites like OnlyFans or SeekingArrangements, or on various social media platforms. The sugar baby is usually young, attractive, and seeking a more luxurious lifestyle that an older and wealthier partner can provide.
These relationships tend to last as long as both parties remain interested—and more importantly, as long as the money or gifts continue to benefit the sugar baby.
Some sugar dating relationships are platonic but mutually beneficial, while others become long-term intimate connections. Some take place completely online, while others involve in-person meetups.
Sugar dating does not have to lead to extortion or blackmail, but it often does. Once the money or gifts stop, the sugar baby may threaten to expose the relationship or publish intimate photos or videos if they do not receive more money.
In short, you face a significantly higher chance of being blackmailed once you are involved in this type of relationship.
Unlike traditional online sextortion scams, which typically involve perpetrators living in a different country, some sugar baby relationships result in numerous in-person meet-ups over a longer period of time.
Is Being a Sugar Daddy Against the Law?
No, it is not unlawful to be a sugar daddy. It is not against the law to pay for companionship—but it is unlawful to pay only for sex. A sugar relationship must involve companionship to avoid being classified as prostitution (which is punishable by law).
Since the sugar dating relationship is not a simple exchange of money for sex, it is not as clear-cut as prostitution in the eyes of the law. While you are paying for companionship (that probably includes sex), a sugar baby is not considered a sex worker if they offer more to the relationship than sex.
However, it is easy to see how being a sugar daddy might be considered a gray area and not the best idea.
These kinds of relationships can easily get out of hand, and even if they do not lead to blackmail, they may devolve into something closer to prostitution—which would put you in legal jeopardy.
What Does Sugar Baby Blackmail Typically Look Like?
Sugar dating blackmail often takes one of a few forms. In this section, we define blackmail and extortion, then examine common sugar baby blackmail scenarios.
What is the Definition of Blackmail?
The crime of blackmail involves threatening to reveal harmful or humiliating information about a victim unless they pay some sort of ransom. Some blackmailers ask for money, while others ask for favors (sexual or otherwise).
State laws vary concerning blackmail, but 18 U.S.C. § 873 makes it a federal offense punishable by fine or up to one year of imprisonment. This federal statute defines a blackmailer as: “Whoever, under a threat of informing, or as a consideration for not informing, against any violation of any law of the United States, demands or receives any money or other valuable thing.”
It is important to understand that the crime occurs as soon as the threat is made. You do not need to comply with the blackmailer’s demands for them to be punishable by law.
For further information on internet blackmail, see our comprehensive guide: “I’m Being Blackmailed: How to Deal With Blackmail on the Internet.”
How is Blackmail Different From Extortion?
The terms “extortion” and “blackmail” are often used interchangeably. Depending on the state or jurisdiction, blackmail is considered a type of extortion.
Extortion comes from the Latin term “extortionem,” which means “twisting out.” It is usually defined as the crime of using threats of physical harm to coerce a victim to comply. When blackmail is a subcategory of extortion, it is when the threat includes revealing harmful information.
Both terms are similar in that they involve threatening a person in order to manipulate them.
Common Types of Sugar Baby Blackmail
Sugar dating blackmail generally boils down to two main types.
First, you know your sugar baby and have an in-person relationship with them. Second, they are a stranger on the internet with whom you have corresponded and exchanged money for services.
The second scenario is much closer to traditional sextortion, while the first is much more complicated.
Real Sugar Baby Relationships
These sugar dating scenarios usually begin online. You might meet your sugar baby on a popular website or platform like:
- Seeking (formerly SeekingArrangements),
The connection then develops into an in-person relationship. You meet and go on dates, spend time together, and know details about each other’s lives. The sugar baby potentially learns where you live, if you are married and have a family, and where you work.
Unlike traditional sextortion, which burns out quickly, these relationships are often very intimate and can last weeks, months, or years.
It is not easy to end these known relationships—especially when you have been paying the sugar baby a “salary” that they have come to rely on. In short: when an intimate relationship is involved, the situation is much more complicated than traditional extortion.
Traditional Sextortion & Extortion Scams
In this scenario, you meet a stranger online. Perhaps you strike up a relationship on a sugar daddy website, a dating app, or social media. You never have a chance to meet them in person or verify their identity.
Things escalate quickly. Perhaps you join a private webcam chat where you engage in intimate behavior together—but you do not realize they have been recording you. They threaten to release the images or information they have gathered about you to your friends and family if you do not pay them.
These types of sugar daddy blackmail move much faster than known sugar daddy relationships. In these scenarios, the perpetrator is playing a numbers game. They want to cast a wide net and find as many victims to extort as possible. Because the blackmailer is eager to move on, it is generally easier to resolve the situation.
Please see our comprehensive article explaining what to do if you are the target of Instagram blackmail.
What to Do if You Are Being Blackmailed by a Sugar Baby
If you are receiving threats from a sugar baby, the best steps to take depend on your unique situation. But in general, we recommend keeping the following tips in mind:
- Cut off all contact with the sugar baby,
- Document all evidence of your communications,
- Lock down your online presence,
- Reach out to an experienced internet blackmail attorney,
- Consider reporting the blackmail to law enforcement, and
- If the case could be considered traditional sextortion, file a complaint with IC3.
Below, we delve into each step in more detail.
Cut off All Contact With the Sugar Baby
In most online blackmail and extortion schemes, the general rule is to stop engaging with the blackmailer immediately. The perpetrator’s goal is often to make you panic and react quickly. They try to coerce you into paying, usually with the promise that the problem will disappear if you do.
But in reality, the more you engage with a blackmailer, the more power they gain over you—not less. There is nothing stopping a blackmailer or extortionist from coming back to ask for more payment later, even if you do everything they say.
The same logic applies to sugar baby situations. Especially in more traditional sextortion scenarios where you do not know the sugar baby in real life, it is usually easier to disengage and stop paying.
However, if your relationship is more personal in nature, the more of your personal information the sugar baby may have at their disposal. In these situations, the sugar baby may have more power to expose secrets about you or affect your personal life. You may need to act more diplomatically—but you must still form a plan to end the relationship quickly.
Document All Evidence of Your Communications
Next, preserve any messages between yourself and the sugar baby. Take screenshots of social media DMs and text messages, print out email threads, and document any other important information you have about the sugar baby and the nature of your relationship.
Most importantly, document their messages with threats and demands for money.
While it is understandable to be embarrassed by your situation and some of the evidence, it does not help to delete or ignore it. Instead, treat your messages as tangible evidence that can help your case. Without proof of the blackmail, there is very little that an attorney or law enforcement can do to help you.
Your phone and computer have screenshot features you can use for free:
- On an iPhone, press the side button and volume-up button at the same time.
- On Android, press the power and volume-down buttons simultaneously.
- On a Mac, press Shift+Command+4, then use your mouse to select the area you want to capture.
- On Windows, press CTRL+PrtScn to capture the entire screen.
If you are looking for more advanced evidence-preserving tools, Page Vault and Visualping are popular alternatives.
Lock Down Your Online Presence
After you have gathered as much evidence of the blackmailer’s messages as possible, shut down your online presence.
We always recommend protecting your privacy online, but it becomes essential when you are faced with blackmail. When a perpetrator is trying to harass and extort you, they may look for as much information about you as they can.
Deactivate as many of your social media profiles as possible—and for the others, maximize their privacy settings. Block the sugar baby on all platforms so that they can no longer contact you or see your information.
Work With an Experienced Internet Blackmail Attorney
If the sugar baby does not stop threatening you—or if they have already followed through on their threats to publish intimate content—consider reaching out to an attorney. A legal team with experience in online blackmail can help you form a response strategy.
An experienced attorney can help you navigate even the direst of situations. They can devise a customized game plan to end your sugar baby relationship discreetly and with minimal risk to you.
And if the sugar baby has already done damage to your reputation, an attorney will advise you on potential options for damage mitigation and content removal. You may be able to use civil remedies such as restraining orders, injunctions, or lawsuits to obtain immediate relief. The remedies available to you depend on whether you know the sugar baby’s true identity and how far you are willing to go to hold them accountable.
Consider Reporting to Law Enforcement
Blackmail and extortion are unlawful in all their forms—and a law enforcement agency can press criminal charges against the blackmailer.
Every sugar baby relationship is unique. Depending on the nature of your situation, contacting local law enforcement may be an appropriate and necessary step.
Of course, in some cases, it may not be best to create a police report and make something public that you would rather keep private. Your attorney can advise you on your options and the best strategy for resolving your blackmail case.
If the nature of the threats necessitates contacting law enforcement, it will be important to have a well-documented file of evidence.
File a Complaint With IC3 (If Your Case Is Traditional Sextortion)
If the sugar baby is someone you met online—and you do not have a personal, real-life relationship—the situation likely falls under typical sextortion. You can usually treat it like any other case of online extortion and fraud, including reporting it to agencies that handle online crimes.
The Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) is a division of the FBI that tracks suspected online crimes. You can report any kind of online fraud to the IC3, not just extortion and blackmail. Once the IC3 receives and reviews the complaint, they forward it to the proper federal, state, and local authorities. They may even forward information to international law enforcement agencies if appropriate.
For further information on reporting traditional sextortion and blackmail scams, please see our comprehensive resource ‘How to Report Sextortion’.
How to Protect Yourself Against Sugar Baby Blackmail
The best way to handle sugar baby blackmail is to avoid becoming a victim in the first place. As they say, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
If you are worried that you may become a target of online extortionists and sextortionists, familiarize yourself with the following safety practices:
Learn How to Spot a Fake Sugar Baby Scam
Many perpetrators take advantage of the loneliness and goodwill of their victims by posing as friendly young people (usually women) in need of financial support. But by teaching yourself to identify the red flags of a sugar baby scammer, you can avoid some of the most common scenarios.
Legitimate sugar babies are concerned with protecting themselves as much as you are concerned about your own well-being. They almost always ask for payment at the beginning of a date to avoid being scammed by fake sugar daddies. But asking for a weekly allowance before you have even met once is usually a red flag.
Also, some sugar baby scammers continually put off dates. They may ask for a payment, then reschedule your meeting for the next night or week. They may come up with excuses not to even have a video chat with you. If this happens more than once, you can bet they never intend to hold up their end of the bargain.
Many sugar baby scammers also operate internationally. If the sugar baby’s messages and online profile are written in poor English and sound like they were put through a translator, this should be a red flag.
Avoid Sending Money to Someone You’ve Never Met in Real Life
Another common sugar baby scam tactic is to prey on your compassion. They may confide in you that they are going through a financial emergency. Perhaps a family member is ill, or they tried to get a flight to visit you but their credit card was stolen. If they ask for money to resolve an emergency before you have even begun your relationship, do not believe them.
Of course, a legitimate sugar baby relationship often involves sending gifts or helping them with their bills (like rent or student loans). You may even help them out of a tight spot or two. But if you have not known them long—or even met in person—do not send them money for anything other than your mutually beneficial relationship.
Avoid Sharing Personal Information With the Sugar Baby (if Possible)
The best way to protect yourself from blackmail and extortion is to limit the information a sugar baby knows about you.
Start by maximizing your social media privacy settings so the sugar baby cannot do their own research on you. Be very careful about what you put on the internet and who is allowed to see it.
Then, avoid sharing the following private information with a sugar baby:
Your physical address is the one place where you can always be reached. Try to avoid sharing your address with a sugar baby if you possibly can.
Your Place of Work or School
A scammer can learn much about you from your educational and professional history. When you are meeting a sugar baby for the first time, try to keep the answers about your past general.
For example, instead of telling them that you went to school at UCLA, say something like “When I went to California for undergrad.”
Bank Account Information
Never share your bank information with a potential sugar baby. Use other methods of payment—like Venmo or Paypal—to protect your private financial data.
Social Security or Driver’s License Number
No legitimate sugar baby needs your social security number or driver’s license number. If they ask, this should be an immediate deal-breaker.
Refrain From Sharing Explicit Content
In today’s online world, there is no completely safe way to sext. Even a romantic partner that you can trust now might turn on you—or their cloud may be hacked.
Assume that any explicit images or videos can (and will) be used against you. The best way to avoid the consequences of sexting is to avoid sending them, to begin with.
We Can Help Put an End to Sugar Baby Blackmail
Receiving a non-stop barrage of threats from a current or former sugar baby is tremendously stressful. These communications are designed to make it difficult for you to make level-headed and effective decisions. Please know that you are not alone.
“My experience with Minc Law was exceptional. I’ve never had to work with an attorney before, but an unfortunate family situation forced me to look for someone to partner with. After many google searches leading to many unanswered emails and calls by other law firms, I was delighted when Minc reached out. Admittedly, having never worked with an attorney in this capacity, my expectations were low. I assumed my story and my unique needs would not be of interest, or maybe I would not be taken seriously. Instead, I was blown away by how wonderfully I was treated and how closely and carefully my story was listened to. Micheal Pellagalli and the team exceeded expectations I did not know I had. Mike listened to me, and he cared about my situation. I could not have been happier with my journey with Minc Law and would implore others seeking representation to invest the time and expense to partner with Minc. In the end, I believe you will be as pleased as I am with the outcome.”
June 17, 2022
At Minc Law, our experienced legal team has proven experience holding blackmailers and extortionists accountable for their actions. We can help you take control of the situation, take any necessary legal action, and put an end to threats so you can move forward from the trauma of blackmail.
However, it is crucial to act quickly. If you need an emergency sextortion or blackmail consultation with one of our experienced sextortion attorneys, contact us by calling (216) 373-7706, speaking with a Chat representative, or filling out our online contact form.