“I’m on an Oil Rig”
You might expect to hear about a fake occupation from a romance scammer — and you keep an eye out for two in particular: A soldier at a far-off military post, or someone on an oil rig.
Why? Because picking these occupations makes it easier to a romance scammer to explain why they’re never able to actually visit. The scammer can then debut a sick relative down the road, giving them an excuse to shake down a victim.
Romance scam losses in 2022 alone added up to a whopping $1.3 billion, with the median amount reported coming in at $4,400.
Common ways a scammer might contact a victim include social media (40% of reported incidents) as well as a dating website or app (19%). When they ask for money, they’ll likely suggest a cryptocurrency exchange or a bank transfer, although they may go for gift cards instead.
Top Tips for Spotting Romance Scammers
But not everyone who texts you to chat will be a scammer. So how can you actually tell who’s who? The FTC has a checklist of suggestions that can help anyone with a shred of doubt about the intentions of the person they’re texting.
According to the FTC, these four tips will help you judge:
- Nobody legit will ever ask you to help—or insist that you invest— by sending cryptocurrency, giving the numbers on a gift card, or by wiring money. Anyone who does is a scammer.
- If someone tells you to send money to receive a package, you can bet it’s a scam.
- Talk to friends or family about a new love interest and pay attention if they’re concerned.
- Try a reverse image search of profile pictures. If the details don’t match up, it’s a scam.
Stay safe, and remember: Don’t give money to anyone on an oil rig.