UK doper help please: how to verify someone is UK citizen?

My sister in law is somehow “in love” and “he wants to spend his life with me” with a UK citizen that she met on the interwebs (never in person). I don’t know the half of it but nothing adds up. Guy claims

  1. wife passed away
  2. has a 5 year old daughter being raised in Florida by his mother in law
  3. works as a contractor on an oil rig
  4. company he contracts to is Robco Engineering headquarterd in Hatfield UK
  5. only thing I found searching was to a service that had info for purchase on a company with this address.
    RM13 8TX
  6. I can’t find a homepage or any other hits
  7. the address to his apartment in florida is actually a mansion
  8. claims he can’t do a video call because the computers on the oil rig are too old
  9. claims he doesn’t have a US social security number because he doesn’t pay tax (ha ha, nice one, try telling that to the IRS)

There’s plenty more things that tell me this is complete bollocks for whatever reason. That said, is there a UK ID number or some other way to double check that someone is who they claim to be? Is there a company registry that I can look up to verify Robsco Engineering?

My sis in law thinks that the family is trying to keep her from happiness. I would like nothing more than her to find a guy that she would be happy with (and preferrably halfway around the world to get her out of my house) but I’d prefer her not to be axe murdered or something.

That address looks like a block of flats, but the company’s capital is only £1,000, so it could be operated out of a residential address.

Hah! I actually know someone (quite well) who lives on that exact road. But sadly it’s not the kind of person I’d ask to knock on some stranger’s door due to someone I know off the internet. :smiley:

But it’s unlikely that an oil worker would be contracted to such a tiny company operating out of someone’s bedroom.

You could try searching for any info you have via They do have an awful lot of info on people.

But the national security number - the National Insurance number - is not something you can use to look for someone. Especially when you don’t know his NI number. He would have one as British citizen, btw, regardless of whether he pays tax.

FWIW I play EVE Online with a guy who works on oil platforms [he was on one that went boom and polluted the hell out of the gulf coast] and he has no problem logging in and resetting his skill training while on the platform. He regularly video chats with his girlfriend. I call bogus.

What does the Florida address look like in google street view?

Ohhhhhhh, I’ll be buggered with a fishfork if this guy turns out to be legit.

Thanks for the on the ground assessments of the neighborhood (man, I love the 'Dope).

Here’s the “apartment complex” in the US he claims to be living in.

Question: If one wanted to “prove” he is a UK citizen, then asking for his National Insurance number is the way to go correct? I mean if Robert Dwayne is serious about marrying my sis in law, then it shouldn’t be too out of line to ask for his National Insurance number now would it? Or is there something else that would be straightforward to ask for? I mean on top of the US Social security number as he is a dual citizen and all :wink:

He’ll have an NI number.

Much more simple, though. If he’s hanging out in the US, he has a passport. Ask for a copy of it (though I guess that could be awkward - but then so’s “hey, what’s your NI number?”)

What’s his connection to Florida other than that his mother in law lives in an apartment there? I’m unclear on that bit. Why would he have a US social security number? You say later that he’s a dual citizen, so that might be it, but I’m unclear on the US connection other than the mother in law.

Is it Robco or Robsco?

The official government service to show company shareholding and financial records is here. You have to pay a small fee though.

If the guy is an oil contractor, then he may be working through a personal limited liability company, which makes him the director/employee and may not be overly capitalised. This is done for tax purposes (as in paying less of it), but will make it harder to verify as there is not a great deal of paperwork involved. But it could explain the residential address.

It is a pretty common approach to contracting in the UK.


Maybe ask to see his facebook account? If he has pics of friends and family etc that might help. I guess someone stuck on an oil rig would use social networking to keep in touch.

Nope, sorry, it’s not going to help in the slightest. The NI number is related to tax and social security contributions and can’t tell you anything about citizenship. My very-not-a-citizen husband has one. You can’t even tell anything by the format of the number, according to the HMRC website. I agree the passport is probably the only way to go.

I don’t get this at all, why does all this matter? Your sister isn’t planning to do something insane like send cash to this guy is she?!?

Usually online dating if it gets serious enough one person goes to visit the other, and take it from there. Before this no money should be requested or sent by either party, excepting small token gifts and souveniers from the area etc. Are we dating or gold digging?

Then all this is irrelevent because just like real life dating there is no possible hard and fast rule, you have to play it by ear. When is the right time to move into your lover’s apartment? When you feel comfortable doing so. Your sister is really going to have to do this on her own.

There’s no way for you to verify short of seeing a copy of his passport or other documents, which you won’t get from a third party and he won’t give you because it will put a crimp in his scam.

She has probably already given him money, but the best policy is to act supportive to her: “We’d love to meet him. We’re thrilled for you, though a little worried. My friend’s cousin was killed by a man she met online. He even worked on an oil rig. It started with requests for money. I’m sure your man is different, though.” In other words, be kind but plant doubts, and talk about how foolish one aspect of behaviour (sending money) is, because that’s probably the guy’s only angle.

Well, getting a copy of his passport would demonstrate to you that he is a UK citizen. But would that really make any difference to how you feel about this?

This used to be perfectly normal for oil contractors (and IT contractors). It was supposed to have been squashed by IR35, but maybe they’ve got around it.

Yes, on the oil rigs I’ve dealt with, the infrastructure isn’t there. Not for private use, anyway.

Why would a UK citizen, working in the UK (well offshore UK), have a US SSN or pay US taxes?

The only issue that I have is his home address. I would have expected him to be living rather nearer. But the flights to and from Aberdeen are full of oil rig workers going on and off shift.

You’ll want Companies House, as others have mentioned. Bear in mind that the company address may well be that of his accountant. You’ll want the addresses of the directors.

Sounds like he’s working out of Florida.

Not sure of the legality and expect to be corrected, but if he is working as a representative of his UK corporation which is contracted to a rig in the Gulf of Mexico, he may not have to pay US income tax. Which isn’t totally unheard of - I lived and worked in Connecticut for an Irish company and wasn’t on the US books at first.

On rereading the thread, I’m confused. In your OP you said his daughter is in the US. Is he living there too? Is he working on UK rigs or US rigs?

And just to clarify my previous post, I work in Aberdeen, UK, which is the centre of the UK oil industry, and the company for which I work does IT for a number of oil-related companies.

I used to live in Cullen. If you haven’t been, go :slight_smile:

Anyway, OP, have you checked if he is a director of the firm (assuming it isfor him being a contractor he will be a director) - and as someone else mentioned the company at that address is Robsco - a Robco also exists. Which is it?

You can check if he is a director using webcheck I think, although you will have to pay around a fiver. A couple of years ago you could also get director addresses from it but now almost everyone opts out.

Yeah, you’re right - it’s ambiguous. If it’s only his daughter who lives in Florida and he works out of the UK, why would he have to pay US tax?

Here’s the Florida address in Streetview, and on one side of the street are regular bungalows. There’s something in the distance on the other side that could be a mansion but it could also be some kind of condo block. It’s too far away to see.

Happy to hear you have a new job!

Pretty much any piece of information he could offer - if the means exist for you to check it - is also a piece of information he could have easily accessed in order to create a false identity - if you can somehow look it up to verify it, he could have simply looked it up first.

Asking for a scanned copy of the photo page of his passport might work, if only because scammers often make a terrible mess of faking these documents.

Perhaps not for much longer. My whole section is under review, and I’ve sent an email which was poorly phrased and wildly misinterpreted. :frowning: