You have probably received an email, an SMS, or an inbox message in your social network app with the sender claiming to be looking for love and to raise a family with you. The fraudsters sweet-talk their victims, gaining their trust, deceiving them to send them enormous amounts of money. The oil rig scammers will give excuses as to why it would be impossible to meet up, such as being in another country, or working on an offshore rig, hence the name.
This article will explain the extent to which oil rig scams reach, how they unfold, and how to stay safe and protect oneself from the cons.
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Overview of Oil Rig Scams
Most oil rig scam victims are lonely people or those that feel desperate and unsuccessful in their search for love. Oil rig romance scammers target people from any educational background, sexual identity, gender, ethnicity, and even income level. There is no specific target for these scams as anyone can be a victim to a sweet-talker who tells them exactly what they want to hear.
Oil rig scams are almost the perfect crimes, as all one needs to do is to sit in front of their screen safely overseas while hunting for prey within millions of social network users. For this reason, the scam perpetrators rarely get caught. The unsuspecting victims suffer substantial damage – financially and emotionally. They end up with such deep embarrassment that they cannot admit to being scam victims.
Although it’s easy to dismiss this fraud as a small bush fire, it is instead a raging forest fire. With over 100 million internet users seeking online dating services globally, there is an enormous chance of being caught by oil rig dating scams. Reports show that victims part with thousands of dollars on one scammer out of alleged love.
According to the FBI, of all internet-facilitated crimes, romance scams alone stand as the highest cause for financial losses. At the same time, there were over 100,000 cases of online romance fraud, while just about 15% of the victims reported the incidents.
How Does an Oil Rig Scam Unfold?
Although oil rig scams vary in detail, they have an identical trajectory that they all follow. The oil rig romance scammer will identify the victim; rapidly establish a relationship online; then ask for a small amount of money – perhaps for a birthday gift – testing the readiness of the victim. Soon afterward, the scammer claims to be in a crisis where they need a massive sum of money and promises to return it promptly. Several other attempts of borrowing money follow until the victim is unable to send more money, or until they realize it was all a scam.
Oil rig romance scammers usually operate as a team, with specific roles for each member. One of them initiates the conversation with the victim claiming to be a lover. The teammates act out as doctors or emergency service people demanding payment after saving the lover’s life. Other times they pose as friends or workmates to convince the victim to send money. In other cases, they use young women to pretend to be teenage daughters that will gladly call the prey “mom.” This is a natural target point as the victim is eager to have a family with her newly-found lover, and out of desperation, she can’t discern whether this is a fraud.
Much scripting goes into these oil rig dating scams as the false lover will use love poetry and plan events that lead to a relationship. A scammer can have many victims at a time; 10 even 20 depending on the size and abilities of their team and the ease of their target.
These scammers will create fake online profiles on social media, and fill out phony information that will help to confirm their story. They will download pictures of good looking people and pose as them. They will even have photos of family on the page to appear more convincing. After they gain your trust, then they attack.
Whenever a victim requests for a face-to-face meeting, the oil rig romance scammers will cleverly evade it and come up with ways to say “no” or to postpone.
How to Protect Yourself from Oil Rig Scammers
1. The most important defense mechanism is applying common sense
There is little you can do when dealing with a fake account, especially if the scammer put some good thought into it to make it very convincing. However, beware of the red flags that pop up, such as infrequent status or photo updates. A real account will probably be old enough and have many photos of friends and followers and thousands of activities, while the fake ones will have just a handful of photos, maybe 5 to 10 and no events.
Low engagement and inconsistent contact might be another warning sign. Similarly, although you might need a loving person, avoid one who suddenly decides to tell you they are in love with you after just a few engagements. Usually, this is unrealistic and should alert you of a possible scam.
2. Protect your personal information
Avoid putting your photos and personal information casually on the internet. Scammers might use it to carry out fraud pretending to be you.
3. Confirm their story
In your quest for finding love online, remember that there are many oil rig scammers. Double-check their story and perform Google searches of their names. A real account will have several other active accounts on different social media platforms, such as Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. If someone claims that they work in a place far away from excellent phone service, then you probably don’t need them because they cannot give you the attention and company that you seek in the first place.
Could You Be A Victim Of An Oil Rig Scam?!
Oil rig scammers are notorious for hiding their true identities. It is important that you perform a quick background check on who you are actually speaking to on the internet (you can do that here). The common questions that spring to mind are:
- Are they using fake identities?
- Am I really speaking to a real person from the USA?
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While many oil rig dating scams run without any detection, there are various ways with which you can identify one of them (like doing a quick background check). As most try to build trust with the prey, they almost always use the same kind of routine. To stay safe from scammers, keep your head in the game and beware of any red flags. Prompt them to do something for you before you send them any money and most of them will scatter. Stay safe in the dating game.