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Scam Alert
Korean Scam Alert

Here’s a scam we know is hitting the Korean community right now — but it’s just as likely to be coming soon to a phone or email inbox near you. Because one thing we know is that scammers never target just one person (or community). Read on so you can spot and report these scammers before they trick someone you care about out of money.

According to our colleagues in the Korean community, an American “lawyer” is asking for a big transaction fee from his target (let’s call him Dan) in South Korea. Why? Because the “lawyer” says he’s helping the King of Cambodia. The King (supposedly) has $1.2 million in secret funds parked in a U.S. bank account and withheld by the U.S. government. The King (supposedly) needs Dan’s help to send that money to his son who’s (again: supposedly) studying in South Korea. And the “lawyer” has a whole bunch of “government” documents to make this story look believable. For his troubles, Dan will get a big cut of the money. Supposedly.

But it’s all a scam. The secret pot of money doesn’t really exist. The supposed documents are forged. And nobody who contacts you out of the blue asking for a transaction fee to send you or a loved one money is legitimate. Ever.

Unfortunately, “Dan” sent a wire transfer with more than $20,000 in fees — and the lawyer still wants more. Which is what scammers do: if they can get you to pay once, they’ll keep trying. A real lawyer is now helping “Dan,” encouraging him to do the right things: (1) stop paying, and (2) report it.

So spread the word, whether you’re in the Korean community or anywhere else:

  • Never pay anyone who contacts you asking for money. No matter what their story is. 

  • No government official from any country has real money to send to you. Anyone who says they do is a scammer.

  • If anyone tells you to pay by wire transfer, gift card, or cryptocurrency, that’s a scam.

Report these scams to the Federal Trade Commission:  Your report makes a difference: by telling your story to the FTC and others in your community, you help stop the scammers — and help others avoid the scam.

Read this post in Korean.

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The purpose of this blog and its comments section is to inform readers about Federal Trade Commission activity, and share information to help them avoid, report, and recover from fraud, scams, and bad business practices. Your thoughts, ideas, and concerns are welcome, and we encourage comments. But keep in mind, this is a moderated blog. We review all comments before they are posted, and we won’t post comments that don’t comply with our commenting policy. We expect commenters to treat each other and the blog writers with respect.

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Toni L Gallegan
May 02, 2023

I can't believe people fall for this.

Sally Bright
January 11, 2023

I was romance scammed 2 years ago. Gave them everything i had. Approx$80,000. The bank helped me and I got a little bank. These people are so smooth. Don't believe a word they say. No friends, son or daughter, wife died. They need to get back in USA. It's all lies. Do not send any money.

May 03, 2023

In reply to by Sally Bright

I just found out my wife has been involved in a romance scam for atleast the past 4 years. She did a good job at hiding it no one ever caught on until recently when I discovered it. She has sent them thousands of dollars in play cards as well as doing wire transfers to them. Now Im afraid she unwittingly has committed fraud for them. Is there a way out for her? I have no idea what to do. The scammers took over all her online accounts including her bank account. Now since I convinced her that it was all a scam this whole time she hasnt had any contact with them but they just wont stop now they are starting to threaten us. I am prepared to defend my FAMILY

May 03, 2023

In reply to by Sally Bright

Sally, I'm sorry this happened to you. There are a lot of lonely people. I suggest you connect with a local church that has a group of like-minded people (by age or hobby or something) who get together to do service to others, and I'm sure you'll make friends and find fulfillment.

January 11, 2023

New twist on the old Nigerian prince scam

Anne Smith
January 11, 2023

Thank you so much for this article. Keep up the good work!

March 15, 2023

It´s the same on Interpals page, there are a lot of scammers stealing pictures of Korean influencers, be careful