According to this email, Mr Yang, a friend of Mr Chen Shui-bian, the former President of Taiwan, has a lucrative investment proposal for you. Supposedly, Mr Yang needs your help to relocate $49 million “in such a way that it must not be tied to Mr. Chen Shui-bian”.
To that end, he wants you to act as the original beneficiary of the funds and receive the money into your own bank account. And, as compensation for your help, he will allow you to keep 20% of the total fund.
The email links to a 2009 BBC News report about Chen Shui-bian that indicates the former leader was jailed for life for embezzlement, taking bribes and money laundering.
But, in fact, the email has no connection to Chen Shui-bian and the $49 million is nothing more than a figment of a grubby little scammer’s imagination.
The message is a typical advance fee scam designed to trick you into sending your money and personal information to online criminals. If you reply, the criminals will claim that you must send money to cover various fees before the funds can be transferred.
Requests for money will continue until you run out of money to send or realise that you are being scammed. At the end of the scam, the criminals will disappear with your money in their pockets. You will never get this money back. Nor, of course, will you get the promised millions, which never existed to begin with.
Furthermore, the criminals may have managed to harvest a good deal of your personal and financial information during the course of the scam. Enough, perhaps, to steal your identity as well as your money.
Advance fee scams like this one have been around for a very long time and predate the Internet. Nevertheless, such scams still manage to gain new victims every day.
An example of the scam email:
Re: INVESTMENT PROPOSAL
Dear Prospective Partner,
I am contacting you regarding transaction linked with Mr. Chen Shui-bian the former President of Taiwan. My name is Mr. Yang, my friend Mr. Chen Shui-bian has presented a subtle offer which will need the help of a partner like you to complete successfully. Mr. Chen Shui-bian is in a difficult situation and he must immediately relocate certain sums of money. More so, this must be done in such a way that it must not be tied to Mr. Chen Shui-bian. The sum is currently deposited in the name of an existing legal entity. Your role will be to:
. Act as the original beneficiary of the funds.
. Receive the funds into a business/private bank account.
. Invest/Manage the funds.
. Value of funds: (US) $49 Million.
Everything will be done legally to ensure the rights to the funds are transferred to you. If you agree to partner with Mr. Chen Shui-bian, he will compensate you with 20% of the total sum for your role as the beneficiary partner to the funds. Should you prefer I re-contact you with more express facts, you can send me your:
 Full Names:
 Personal Profile:
 Daytime Telephone No:
Be advised to visit the following link to be better acquainted with Mr. Chen Shui-bian’s current profile and personality.
You can email me for further details, terms and agreement.