The world of online dating has many different types of romance scammers pretending to have careers that give them a plausible excuse for being far away from the victim. This is so the victims won’t ask questions when the scammer can’t come and see them. Sometimes the scammer claims to be in the military, but increasingly the scammer pretends to be an oil rig consultant, engineer, or any other type of oil rig worker. Working on an oil rig allows them to be away for the majority of time, with no access to money or ATMs, which justifies them asking for money for emergencies from the victim. In this oil rig scam case study, total victim losses are likely in the millions or tens of millions of dollars. Our romance scam investigators talk to victims daily and we can usually tell within seconds if someone is the victim of an oil rig scam.
One of our clients lost over USD $500,000.00 of his life savings to a romance scammer. We uncovered a network of people involved in the US and Ghana and we worked with the FBI and local police to locate, arrest and extradite these scammers to recover losses for our client.
How an Oil Rig Scam works
With an oil rig scam, the romance scammers initiate contact on dating apps or social media, and start a romantic relationship with their victim. The oil rig engineer scammer will use their job on the oil rig as an excuse to be away, and a reason as to why they lack a good internet connection for video chats.
Commonly the scammer says that they work on an oil rig in the North Sea, in Norway, Australia, or the Gulf of Mexico. He is supposedly a petroleum engineer, engineer supervisor, oil rig contractor, petrochemical engineer and so on.
At other times the oil rig scammer will claim to own an oil consulting company, who recently received a big contract in another country and needs money to fund additional equipment for his company.
After they win their victim’s trust, they use a narrative where they need money for personal emergencies, or to sustain the supposed oil rig operations. They will manipulate the victims into providing financial assistance out of a sense of affection and love.
When the victims start finding themselves financially (and emotionally) drained, the scammer doesn’t stop, and keeps demanding money. They resort to guilt-tripping tactics or even threats, and when there is no further financial reward to gain, they cut off all contact with the victim.
The Oil Rig Engineer Scammer
Another oil rig scam identity is the oil rig engineer scammer. This is typically how that story goes:
The scammer is a subcontractor engineer on an oil rig overseas. He is a widower or divorced for years and has no or little family. His parents are dead or in a home for elderly with dementia. He has no siblings, and no children, or a child who lives in a boarding school or a nanny.
Explaining his accent, the oil rig engineer scammer comes from England, Ireland, Canada, South Africa, Germany or lives in the USA but came as an immigrant.
He is lonely and is looking for love in a woman to spend the rest of his life with.
Then, when he has won your trust, there will be a problem, an emergency. He needs money for new material or tools and can’t finish his project, and therefore can’t come to visit you.
His excuse for not being able to access his own money is from being offshore with no ATMs or a bad internet connection. Or his credit card is blocked because of a hacker attack and he can’t get a new one right now because he works offshore.
He offers to transfer through:
- Western Union
Then this oil rig engineer scammer needs money again, and again, and again.
Signs of an Oil Rig Scam
Watch out for the following tell-tale signs of an oil rig scam:
- Claims to be stuck on an oil rig, and can’t meet in person.
- He asks you for money or gift cards.
- Avoids meeting or engaging in a video chat.
- Wants to transition to off-app communication through platforms like Whats App as soon as possible.
- Expressing love and romantic feelings unusually quickly.
- Poor grammar and an accent suggesting a non-native English speaker.
What to Do if You’re a Victim
If you think there is something suspicious about a person you are in a relationship with online, then you should:
- Report the user on the communication platform.
- Contact your bank if money has already been sent for possible retrieval.
- Change passwords if any account information was shared.
- Report the scam to the FTC or IC3 if money or personal information was compromised.
- Never send nude photos of yourself to a stranger you have never met.
- Reverse image search photos of your love interest.
And don’t let the scammer know you know it’s a scam YET. Staying in contact with your oil rig engineer scammer, pretending to be unaware of the scam, and playing along (without transferring more money of course), gives investigators a chance to locate the scammer. This increases the chance of us being able to recover your losses from an oil rig scam.
Catch the Romance Scammers to Get Your Money Back
Unsure if you are involved in an oil rig scam? We can usually tell within one consultation over the phone. However, if unsure, and you want proof, we can run background checks or better yet: locate your love interest.
We can locate oil rig scammers and – in most cases – help you recover your crypto or fiat losses over $200K.
Talk to our romance scam investigators for a free obligation-free consultation to discuss a) if we think you may be the victim of an oil rig scam, and b) if and how we can help locate the scammer and recover your losses.