According to reports, fake sugar daddies scam students by pretending to be wealthy older men through online dating sites.

In order to trick victims into giving out their information and set up credit cards for them, fraudsters are posing online as sugar daddies.

But the conmen instead use the details to access the victim’s banks and spend their money, or even to set up accounts in their name, saddling them with thousands of pounds of debt, The Times reported.

NatWest claims that it has recorded 40 fraud cases since August. However, the actual number could have been much greater as more people may be embarrassed to report..

Mary, a university student who went by the pseudonym Mary told this publication she had met Duncan, a fraudster. Seeking Arrangement is a legit matchmaking site.

The ‘sugar baby’ said she became physically ill after being conned into handing over her personal details, internet banking information and more than £2,000 to the fake ‘sugar daddy’.

An older wealthy man may be known as a sugar daddy. He gives money or gifts to young women in return for his company and dates. Many apps and websites are available that allow you to find such matches. 

A student, known by the pseudonym Mary, met a fraudster called Duncan on legitimate matchmaking website Seeking Arrangement, which was founded by Brandon Wade (pictured)

A fraudulent student known as Mary met Duncan through the legit matchmaking site Seeking Arrangement. Brandon Wade (pictured), founded Seeking Arrangement.

You can find a sugar dad or momma to give you gifts, or an allowance. Seeking is a matching service.

Seeking, which has more than 20million active members, claims to have signed up more than 500,000 British university students since American businessman Brandon Wade set up the website in 2006.

Speaking about her ordeal, Mary said she was looking for a relationship to ease university costs, saying Duncan offered her a £2,000 monthly allowance, shopping trips and unlimited access to his bank card in exchange for three or four dates a month.

According to the university student, they had exchanged photos after she verified her age and place. She reverse-searched him’s image online in order to check if it was on other sites but believed he was genuine.

Duncan persuaded Mary, less than a week after their meeting, to provide her with her personal information. He was setting up a card for her on his American Express account, but he also had other plans. her into telling him her NatWest customer ID, claiming it was so he could ‘create a linked account’ to her existing student account.

But instead, the fraudster spent £2,000 on an Amex card he had set up in her name while she also used his bank card, believing he would pay off the debt.

Seeking claims to have signed up more than 500,000 UK university students since American businessman Brandon Wade (pictured with third wife Tanya) set up the website in 2006

Seeking claims that the site has signed up over 500,000 UK student since 2006, when Brandon Wade (pictured with Tanya, his third wife) launched it.

Duncan also tricked Mary into transferring him £2,000 of her own money by creating a second NatWest bank account with an overdraft in her name.

By accessing her online banking, Duncan moved the overdraft from the new account into her student account to make it appear that he had paid her the money, before asking for the same cash to be transferred into a ‘cash ISA’ he had set up for her.

Mary claimed that her belief in him was “rich” and she would not accept his money. Mary told The Times: “He made the situation so difficult and made me feel dumb when I couldn’t grasp it.”

Amex closed her account and did not ask for repayment of the amount owed. She had told the credit card company about the incident, which she said was fraudulent.

Mary was originally denied a refund by NatWest because Duncan had access to Mary’s account, and she transferred the funds.

But as more victims came forward, the bank investigated and ruled that it was a highly sophisticated scam, refunding Mary the £2,000 she had lost. 

Jason Costain (NatWest Head for Fraud Prevention) said that Mary was courageous to share her story in order to assist others. The UK’s Fraud Prevention Head Jason Costain said that fraud has exploded out of control and is having devastating effects on the lives of people. 

“By discussing it more, you are helping to eliminate any stigma associated these types of frauds and help to capture the perpetrators behind these horrendous crimes. 

The bank has invested heavily in customer education, raising awareness about the dangers involved in becoming a money mule. We would urge anyone offered money to use their account for illegal purposes to inform the police immediately. 

A spokesman for Seeking said the site continues to introduce safety features, including monitoring user reports to identify repeated scammers, to keep its members safe. There are rules that prohibit people from using the site for paying to have sex.

Mary said she became ill after being conned into handing over her personal details, internet banking information and more than £2,000 to the fake 'sugar daddy', who she met on Seeking

Mary said she became ill after being conned into handing over her personal details, internet banking information and more than £2,000 to the fake ‘sugar daddy’, who she met on Seeking  

A Financial Ombudsman Service spokesperson said: ‘It’s vital that people take extra care with their finances as unfortunately fraudsters are becoming increasingly sophisticated. 

“If people feel that they were not treated fair by their bank, the Financial Ombudsman can help.

MailOnline reached out to Seeking, American Express and the Metropolitan Police for comments.

Many students use ‘sugar’ daddy relationships to help them with university costs, as more than 1,000 students at Cambridge University alone were ‘sugar babies’ in 2019, according to Seeking.

My Sugar Daddy is one example of a sugar dating app.

Seeking’s site’s biography says that it started as a place where sugar mommas and sugar daddies could find sugar babies. However, the website has attempted to “evolve” as the dating world has. The site now promotes itself said as a place where you can ‘just date up’.

This website says: Seeking started as Seeking Agreement, in which sugar daddies could find sugar mothers and sugar babies could be matched by openly sharing their hopes for a long-lasting relationship. Since 2006, the site has been able to facilitate many harmonious relationships.

Seeking continues to grow as the dating world evolves. Although we still believe in helping singles to find genuine relationships, based upon open communication and honesty, we offer much more. 

“Seeking means identifying our passions and how to make our lives better with others.