Terri is a woman from North Charlotte, NC who was involved in an oil rig romance scam. She met a man named William Lloyd on Zoosk when she was looking for someone to become her companion after her husband passed away. While talking to him, she was swept off her feet by all the nice things he was telling her. She decided to help him with his finances since he was looking to escape the oil rig. However, doing so supposedly put him in jail. She has helped him with thousands of dollars, just to find out that she was dealing with an oil rig scammer. Our team at Social Catfish broke down the oil rig scam so that you can see what happened.
Why Did Terri Decide to Try Online Dating?
Terri married her husband when she was just seventeen years old. She was married to him for 38 years before he passed away unexpectedly of a massive heart attack. She was talking to him an hour before he passed away and everything seemed fine. He never complained about not feeling well as she was talking to him. Then as he was driving, he passed away as soon as he hit a red light.
She was devastated and terrified after this tragic event happened to her. She had never been alone in her life since she went straight from her dad to her husband. Her husband did a lot for her by taking care of life while she worked to make a living.
Then, that same year is when the coronavirus pandemic took the world by storm. The virus became so big that no one could go out anywhere to socialize or mingle. Because of this, she thought it would be a good idea to see what these dating apps were all about.
How Did She Meet William?
While scrolling through the dating app Zoosk, she swiped right on William and hit it off. He claimed that he was a welder for ExxonMobil and swept her off her feet with his words. They talked about their future together, which made Terri feel like nothing could go wrong.
She talked to him for six weeks, and he claimed he was supposedly in Greensboro doing a welding job. He claimed that it was a huge contract for his company, where they would be making millions of dollars. He also claimed that he needed to go to Anchorage in order to get these contracts signed.
When he got out there, he claimed there was a storm. Terri thought that he was telling the truth since there was actually a storm in the Gulf. It was verified by various news outlets reporting on this tropical storm. He said that they didn’t have Internet access out there, so he needed Terri to be his in-between contact between his business and him.
He asked her to screenshot emails as they come in and to reply back with what he wanted her to say. She got on his email account and saw a contract from Exxon. The contract claimed they were able to pay him 60% upfront which was 2.6 million dollars. He then asked her to log into his bank account and transfer money to a company called Steber Steele. He claimed that they were going to send him supplies so that he can start this job.
Oil Rig Scam Breakdown:
Terri started talking to this guy online and started building a romantic relationship. Now, he’s on an oil rig and he’s setting up this false story for the future. He is telling her that he doesn’t have access to WiFi and asking her to log into his bank account.
He’s doing this for a few reasons:
- He’s setting up his future story.
- He wants her to see that he has money in there.
- He is saying that he doesn’t have WiFi to make it look like it’s hard to get a hold of things.
If someone says they have millions of dollars in their bank account, then people may not believe the person that easily since they only met that person 3 weeks ago. However, if that someone says to log into their account and they can prove they have millions of dollars, then it’s more believable. This makes the victim feel so special like she is being trusted and that she’s the only one that can do that for him.
When Did William First Start Asking Her For Money?
William claimed that the oil rig workers would not allow him to leave the platform to go to the mainland because they assumed that he was going to run off with their money. However, he claimed that he still wanted to go to the mainland to get his hands on his money. He said that he found a captain that will take him to the mainland so that he can gain access to his account to pay for the supplies.
He stated that he just needed $4,000 to pay him. Terri went to her bank and made a withdrawal of $4,000 to help William pay the captain. She went to the captain’s bank, Wells Fargo, and deposited $4,000 into his bank account.
Oil Rig Scam Breakdown:
Question: Do people really come into an oil rig on a boat?
Answer: Most people go to oil rigs via helicopters. It is not Impossible to come in on a boat, but most of them come in on a helicopter because it’s way faster and you can transfer people back and forth. The people that work on an oil rig stay there for three weeks and have access back and forth from the mainland.
They have game rooms, kitchens with chefs, private quarters, and everything else they need to live a comfortable lifestyle on the oil rig. If something breaks down, they will not stop production or living on an oil rig since there is too much money on the line. An oil rig is in operation 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
What Emergency Situation Did William Come Up With?
Finally, William and the captain said they were leaving the oil rig to come back to the mainland. Terri got a text message from someone claiming to be an attorney stating that William had been detained in jail due to breaching his contract. Terri wondered where the jail was at, and the attorney answered that he was detained in Jackson, Mississippi.
She called the Jackson Police Department and asked if they had a William Lloyd incarcerated there. The police department replied that they don’t have anyone by that name. She texted the supposed attorney back stating that she just called the Jackson Police Department and they don’t have him. The attorney claimed that he was in holding and hasn’t been processed yet.
Oil Rig Scam Breakdown:
The scammer made it seem like it was mission impossible and too good to be true. In most cases, if you breach a contract it would be a civic issue, and would not go to jail for it. Instead, it would be settled in court and worst-case scenario, he would’ve had to pay fines.
The scammer is saying that he went from the oil rig straight into jail. However, unless he committed fraud, this would never happen. His case would be tied up for months in some contract dispute. The big companies that do their business with contractors work do their due diligence before hiring someone. The contractors would have to have licenses, and businesses would make sure that it’s not going to be someone that just disappears.
They would want someone that isn’t hurting for money or aren’t their biggest client. That way if something goes south, the person that they hired won’t be dishonest about whatever issue arises. They hire all these legal teams to check their assets and their credit on a big scale before hiring them on as a contractor.
Terri Asks Her Cop Son For Advice
Terri called her son, Jason, to see if William was really telling the truth. She asked him, “If they arrest somebody, do they put them in holding until they book them and there’s no record of them being there?”
Jason said, “Mama, as soon as their foot crosses the threshold, they go into a database. If there’s somebody in that jail, they know it.”
The attorney texted her later that day and stated that it was going to be $9,500 to bond William out of jail. She said that he was going to have to give her some time to gather the money. She sent so much money to the attorney and the scammer that she felt trapped.
Every time she sent money to William, it was through Bitcoin. She had to send him more money than he needed because Bitcoin charged an astronomical fee every time she would send money. If he wanted $2,500, she had to put in $3,200 so that once Bitcoin took the fees out, he would still get $2,500.
She didn’t sleep all night after all of this had happened, then called her kids the next day. She told them that she was in trouble and needed them to go to her house right now. She told them to drop what they were doing and to go to her house.
Oil Rig Scam Breakdown:
Terri was contacted by someone who claimed to be an attorney for this guy. The attorney stated that William was put in jail and it’s $9,500 to bail him out.
Question: How do you verify someone’s license to make sure they are actually an attorney?
Answer: You go to the state website to find out if your hairdresser, doctor, or attorney has a license. For example, the attorney in Terri’s case said he was based out in Florida. By checking out his information on the Florida Bar, we could not find his license and could therefore verify he isn’t real.
Terri Confesses Everything About the Oil Rig Scam To Her Kids
The kids asked her what’s wrong and wondered if she was sick. She told them that she wasn’t sick and that she was in trouble. She told them that she needed all of them to go to her house, so they all came to her house.
Terri was distraught and crying as she told them that she had done something stupid. She told them that she was scammed out of $27,000 which emptied her business account, her savings account, and caused her to max out a credit card.
Jason immediately told her to go file a police report, so she did and showed law enforcement documentation for everything. She had account numbers, email addresses, Bitcoin numbers, and more which proved she had been scammed. However, The police told her there is nothing they could do to help her since she did this to herself.
Oil Rig Scam Breakdown:
The police have a hard time with these cases because it’s not really leg work, which is what they are used to. We suggest that if you have been scammed, at least fill out a police report. This will help you if you go report this case to the FBI or to your state’s attorney office since that police report is a starting place for them.
They don’t have jurisdiction to do anything because there wasn’t really a crime that was committed, and it’s also difficult for them to do the leg work. However, the FTC and FBI might look at the bigger picture and view social media accounts that have stolen money from victims over a number of years. They can then look at more information, such as phone numbers or emails, that was sent over to them to see if they can trace the scammer. However, there are times where they can’t trace the information back to the scammer.
How Did Terri End Things With the Oil Rig Scammer?
For the whole weekend, she tried to get in contact with the scammer. She tried to call the attorney’s number and then William’s number, but neither of them would pick up their phones. On Monday, the attorney texted her and asked her if she loved William. Terri replied that she cared about William and his welfare but more than that she “cares about her freaking money.” She texted him that she “wants her damn money back.”
She texted both of them over the weekend and stated that she knew what was happening. She texted them that she hopes everyone that is like them ends up in the hottest part of hell when they die. She also texted them that what they’re doing to innocent women is ridiculous and doesn’t know how they sleep at night.
The scammer replied back and called her mean then she replied, “You’re damn right I’m mean! If someone stole $27,000 from you would you be nice about it?!”
“Don’t contact me anymore,” he replied.
“Dumbass you contacted me first,” she replied back.
She also told him not to contact her anymore then said, “if I ever find William and he gets within arms reach of me, I don’t care about the money, I’m gonna whoop his ass. So you better hope I don’t find out who he really is.”
She also told him to come back to Charlotte because she has two sons that would really love to have a piece of him.
The Final Oil Rig Scam Breakdown
We took a look at the bank account and verified that the website and account were fake. It has now been removed from the Internet and now shows up as a blank page. We also looked at the website WhoIs which checks the domain names and ownership history of each website. We were able to see that the website belonged to a girl named Alana who lives in South Miami Beach FL.
We found a public record that stated that the employer she works at was cited with some health penalties. David, the founder of Social Catfish, suggested that she go to Wells Fargo to freeze the account so that they can do an investigation on it. He also said that she can write a letter to the bank telling them that this is a person known for fraud and that they are doing business with them. She can also put in the letter that they are supposed to be protecting her from fraud and she is requesting her money back.
Before Exxon Mobile hires any contractors, they have a legal department there that has a process for taking on new vendors. This could verify that the scammer didn’t actually work at an oil rig. The scammer also used two men’s photos, and we know who those men are.
The first man’s photos are of a man named Craig. He is an entrepreneur, political activist, and civil philanthropist residing in both Washington State and California. The second man’s photos are of a man named Jonathan. He is a private school teacher in the United Kingdom. The men in these photos are not the real scammer, and their images were used to dupe Terri out of $27,000
What Are Terri’s and Her Kids’ Reactions to This Information?
Terri thinks that she should’ve educated herself better on what potentially could happen before going on online dating sites. She feels extremely stupid about what happened, and can’t even think about it without beating herself up. Her children didn’t speak to her for a couple of days and were giving her the cold shoulder.
Terri texted them a couple of days later asking, “If I were to get in a relationship with someone and they were hitting me or they were being mean to me, would I be able to count on you to have my back more than you had my back in this situation? Because you guys are basically kicking me to the curb. Do you know that I’ve ever really known your daddy? I raised you with your dad and you also did some pretty stupid stuff when you were kids.
“You wrecked cars, you tore up computers at school, one of you stuck a magnet to a hard drive and fried a computer that I had to pay for. But did I holler and scream and jump up-and-down and give you the cold shoulder? No. I came to those car wrecks and said that the car can be replaced, you’re what’s important. Why do I deserve any less respect?”
Social Catfish is Here to Help You!
If you think you’re dealing with a scammer or have had your pictures stolen, Social Catfish is here to help you with your oil rig scam!
If you want to be a part of our next YouTube video or blog post and share your story, now is your chance. You can help educate our audience about what you have gone through and make sure no one else goes through the same thing. All you need to do is email ShareMyStory@socialcatfish.com, and we will get back to you with more details.
You can also reverse search any information you have on the Nigerian romance scammer to see who it is you’ve really been talking to. If you have their name, email address, phone number, social media username, or image you can search it up in our search bar to see if there is more information on the suspected scammer you are talking to.