I have a friend since July online and Exxon owe him for a balance on a 2014 contract off the shores of Liverpool. He is presently in the Gulf of Mexico completing a contract that last for one year. During that year he cannot get off the boat there fore he cannot receive the money.

Exxon has notified him that his check has been deposited in Samba Bank in London. If he doesn’t receive his money within two weeks it goes back to Exxon and he said that there I not telling nohow long before he will receive the money again. He said that with him being off shore that he needs me to be his beneficiary to receive the money for him. He wants me to keep the money in my account and when he gets off the boat in 6 weeks he is relocating to where I live.

I am to buy a house before he gets here and then he wants us to start a business together. He talked with me for quite a while before he told me how much he makes. He knows I do not have any money to mention. I have stock in a formal shop but not any money.

He said if this money had not come in when it did he would have had to postpone his plan until he gets paid what Shell Oil owes him for this contract that he will finish October 15th. He said he had given enough of his life to the gas and oil industry and is not going to sign another contract.

What do you think about the safety of this?

  • 86
    This person will safely remove money from your account. It is a scam.
    – Pete B.
    Commented Sep 2, 2016 at 20:33
  • 47
    I can only +1 Pete B.'s comment once, so I'm posting this comment to reiterate. This is absolutely, without question, a scam. There is exactly zero chance of it being legitimate. If you are at all uncertain about this, please go down to your local police station with all of the details. Commented Sep 2, 2016 at 21:06
  • 13
    Even if they don't steal from you, it's a scam. They find a way to obtain illegitimate money, park it in your account, then ask you to forward the money. They can use you as a mule or cleaner.
    – Chloe
    Commented Sep 3, 2016 at 5:28
  • 44
    "I have a friend since July" So you have been in contact with this person for, at most, about two months; possibly only just over one month. And not only do you call him a friend, but you are contemplating buying a house based on this? Money in a bank being returned to the depositor if the account holder doesn't use it? Does this not sound even the slightest bit weird to you, too?
    – user
    Commented Sep 3, 2016 at 13:40
  • 12
    Question title asks "is this a scam". Question body begins "I have a friend since July online". Uh-huh... Commented Sep 5, 2016 at 14:30

8 Answers 8


This is another version of an old scam -- "let me have a check deposited in your account because I can't open one for some reason, and I'll share some of the money with you." Here the scammer is promising to "start a business" with you as a way to gain your confidence and trust.

The first danger sign is that you only know this person from online. They are not someone you are friends with in the "real" world. They could be anybody.

They used the name of a big company as a way to make what they're doing sound legitimate, but it's all a fraud. They could be depositing a faked Exxon check into your account, which could land YOU in huge trouble.

Here's the thing -- The only way Exxon (or any other company) can deposit money in a bank under someone's name is if that person provides the account and routing numbers to an account that already exists. No company can just create an account in another person's name. That's Hollywood movie stuff, but it's not how banking works. To open an account, the bank would need identification on the account holder, so your "friend" already has an account if Exxon has allegedly deposited money. Further, Exxon isn't going to take back money that has already been deposited. In fact, they can't take it back. If the account is in his name, they can't do anything to the account or with the account.

This is a situation you should run away from and never look back. Nothing about this story sounds right or legitimate, but this is one of the oldest scams out there since the beginning of the Internet.

You would be well advised to stay VERY far away from your supposed friend, because they're anything but your friend. You are being SCAMMED. Don't be a victim. Stop communicating with this person immediately, and DON'T give them any personal information of any kind. They're crooks!

I hope this helps.

Good luck!

  • 2
    Samba Bank offers mobile banking. If the "friend" can e-mail the OP, he could do banking transactions. Commented Sep 3, 2016 at 4:06
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    However, I would do one more thing before running away: Ask someone knowledgeable about networking to help you forward the e-mails with full headers to your country's law enforcement and that of the country from which the e-mails came. And to Samba Bank.
    – WGroleau
    Commented Sep 3, 2016 at 16:26
  • adding to WGroleau comment ... and Exxon.
    – rom016
    Commented Sep 6, 2016 at 12:39
  • 1
    I think this type of Scam is several decades older than the internet.
    – Peter
    Commented Sep 8, 2016 at 15:46

I know people who work in the gulf and most contracts are of the 14 days on/ 14 days (or so) off flavor. I've never heard of someone being onboard a ship or platform for a year. I bet this is a scam.

  • 7
    +1 because questioning the validity of a story is often overlooked. Are you able to get sources that back up yours? Something like a quote from Exxon's site that says "we never do year-on contracts".
    – Carl
    Commented Sep 4, 2016 at 2:13
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    @Carl IMO it's really dangerous to go down this road. Figuring out the ins and outs of their (fabricated) situation is a strawman and if they're skilled it will eventually lead to a plausible explanation and the emotional conflict will only grow deeper. All the other clear reasons this is a scam are more important.
    – djechlin
    Commented Sep 4, 2016 at 6:48
  • 1
    @djechlin Good point, it does seem an effect of being tempted by something that is so clearly a scam. But still, people get scammed. A google search for, say, "recent Nigerian princes" could help people think a proposition through a little bit. I don't mean to imply that I'm asking the scammer to legitimize the story.
    – Carl
    Commented Sep 4, 2016 at 22:08
  • 1
    There is a (somewhat dangerous) observation that most scams are obvious, precisely because the intent is to quickly separate out the smart people from potential victims. Obviously, this doesn't account for spearfishing, but asking the question "why me?" helps to distinguish those.
    – MSalters
    Commented Sep 5, 2016 at 10:59
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    @Carl: Not proof in any way, but anecdotally I can confirm what zeta-brand said. Commented Sep 5, 2016 at 14:32

100% scam. This is classic of mixing real (Exxon) with fiction. This gives credibility to story.

Don't give any thing, there is no damage yet.

If you take the bait, there are multiple ways to get money from you.


"A friend since July online" and big business talks and trust/money forwards. Usually a question "is this a scam or legitimate?" is hard to answer since obviously scams are modelled after legitimate stories (or they'd easily fail).

If there were bookmakers for "scam or legitimate", this one would easily gather odds of 10000:1. The only plausible reason for this to be legitimate would be to defraud the scam-or-legitimate bookmakers.

At any rate, Exxon is a large company and has to obey labor laws. They cannot set up operations in a manner where their workers may not have access to their salary for prolonged times without easy remedy.

Drop communications immediately, don't open them, don't read them. They hook you with emotional investment. They will redouble efforts if it appears you are slipping out of their reach. Explanations will become more plausible, more pressing, more emotionally charged. You are a big promising fish and they won't let you swim off without a serious struggle to rehook you.

Hand your communication so far to law enforcement. That may help with not having to figure this out on your own.


As a woman who was once married to someone who worked offshore in the North Sea, in the Gulf of Mexico, off the coast of Nova Scotia, in fact all over the world...and my husband's rig was contracted through Exxon (by the way, Exxon contracts rigs, but doesn't own any), this is most certainly a scam. Even if you do not believe all the above information, I will tell you this. Offshore oil companies will either have schedules consisting of two weeks on/two weeks off or one month on/one month off. If he is in the Gulf of Mexico, it is almost certainly two weeks on/two off. Which means this "person" who is your "friend" is lying to you, because contract or not, no employer holds any employee on the rig for an entire year. In addition, he can leave the rig anytime he wants to, due to a personal emergency. And no, once a paycheck is deposited in an employee's account, they cannot take it back. LOL!! I would like to see them try!! Don't do this. It will only cause you heartbreak. And since all of the posters recommending that you NOT fall for this POS line of bull have nothing to gain, guess who is telling the truth? It's not your "FRIEND"!

  • 3
    And if he can wire you money, then doesn't it make sense that he can conduct online banking via computer on the rig? Why does he need your help? Doesn't he have any relatives he trusts? He doesn't need your help, he needs your naive trust in him. They have computers on the rig and satellite phones. It's a scam. This whole thing stinks to high heaven. Please protect yourself and let law enforcement know what is going on. Commented Sep 6, 2016 at 5:30

Just one further point to add to what everyone else has said. There are no oil rigs or platforms "off the shores of Liverpool". Liverpool is on the west coast of England, on the oil-free Irish Sea. The UK's oil industry is in the North Sea, to the north-east. Aberdeen would be the correct city.


This is not only a scam but it is potentially fraud that may get you in trouble.

This "friend" of yours will wire you some money in which you do not know where this money is really from. It's obvious from other answers that his story is fictitious. Thus it is likely that this money was stolen through another scam/hack in which now he wants to wash this money through your bank account.

If it turns out that is was stolen, any money you withdrawal for your "cut", will have to be returned and your account will be frozen.


In many countries it is a legal requirement or in some other way mandatory for the banks to ban the owner(s) of an account to allow a third party to use the account. In some countries if you willing give someone access in this way you get no compensation what so ever and you'll be lucky if they catch the crooks and even luckier if you get any of your money back. Don't forget the possibility of jail time due to the criminal activities going on under your name.


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