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Scam Alert: Beware Mr. Wong

THE SCAM: Hong Kong bank fortune

HOW IT WORKS: Though most lottery scams originate in Africa, those who start them frequently make them seem as if they come from somewhere else. In the case of Hong Kong banker Ching Wong, e-mail recipients are told that Mr. Wong has a business proposition for them worth $20 million, with details to come in an e-mail if you reply. Interested parties stand to receive 40 percent of the $20 million, or $8 million. Such scams typically require the victim to pay mysterious "fees" to get the deal off the ground, though that's as far as the deal ever goes. Con artists collect the fees, which are often a few hundred dollars, and promptly disappear.

WHAT'S AT STAKE: Your money

HOW TO BEAT IT: Whether it's Hong Kong, Nigeria, Spain or Canada, every unsolicited e-mail with promises of free money is after the same result: getting victims to part with their money. Delete the e-mail instead, and let "Mr. Wong" try to con someone else.

Contact Bee staff writer Ben van der Meer at or 578-2331.

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