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. Most oil rig scam victims are lonely people or those that feel desperate and unsuccessful in their search for love.
Faking it — scammers’ tricks to steal your heart and money
OnGuardOnline | FTC Consumer Information
More than , people in Britain may have been conned by fraudsters posing as would-be romantic partners on internet dating sites, according to the first study examining the potential scale of the problem. Anti-fraud groups have warned for some time about scams, in which criminals create a false identity — often an army officer on active service, explaining an inability to meet in person — and develop a close online intimacy with a victim, who is then asked for cash to help their presumed suitor out of a crisis. It had long been suspected that official figures for such crimes greatly under-represented their prevalence, largely because many victims feel too embarrassed or hurt to go to the police, or never realise they have been conned. Extrapolating this to the online UK population means more than , potential victims. Monica Whitty, a psychologist and professor of contemporary media at Leicester University, said that the pool of those targeted was likely to be greater still as it did not include people who realised what was happening before they lost money and those who still did not realise they had been conned. There has been an assumption that victims tend to be middle-aged women.
The scammers may just have lit upon the perfect crime: They sit at computers safely overseas, hunting for their prey on social networks, and they rarely get caught. Steve G. Jones is a victim too: His name and photos were stolen to create the fake identities used in romance scams. In the U. The odds of recovering that money, the bureau notes, are very low.
While those reports accounted for only 1. Swindlers will often use fake or stolen identities to attract unsuspecting victims, a process known as catfishing. They lead their targets on, sometimes for long periods, building up trust only to abuse it.