“The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) states that, "An advance fee scheme occurs when the victim pays money to someone in anticipation of receiving something of greater value—such as a loan, contract, investment, or gift—and then receives little or nothing in return."
There are many variations of this type of scam, including the 419 scam (also known as the Nigerian Prince scam), the Spanish Prisoner scam, the black money scam, Fifo's Fraud and the Detroit-Buffalo scam. The scam has been used with fax and traditional mail, and is now prevalent in online communications like emails. ” (wikipedia.com advance-fee scam)
“Article 347-2 (Fraud by The Use of Computer, etc.)
Any person who acquires any benefits to property or has a third person acquire them, by making any data processed after inputting a false information or improper order, or inputting or altering the data without any authority into the data processor, such as computer, etc., shall be punished by imprisonment with prison labor for not more than 10 years, or a fine not exceeding 20 million won.
This Article Wholly Amended by Act No. 5057. Dec. 29,1995” ( https://www.cybercrimelaw.net/Korea.html )
Oct 02, 2019
Dear Recipient of this email,
My name is Mr Byun, for reasons I, unfortunately, cannot give you my full name. This may come as a surprise to you, but I’m a Korean prince, unknown to the public that seeks refuge in a different country, but I need some money to get home and claim my place taken from my vicious relatives having banished me into exile. I don’t ask for much, I have some money of my own, but some is still missing. That’s why I’m kindly asking if you can help me out.
I desperately need your assistance to help me move and claim my place in the hierarchy. I’ll make sure to send you your money back as soon as possible, kind stranger. Any amount of money will make a change.
I’ll attach my bank details and you will receive an invoice over your payment.
Mr Byun, Prince of Korea
Jongdae stared at the email, unblinking, his chopsticks with his ramen halted still in the air on his way to his open mouth. How the hell did a scam email get past the spam filter? And Korean prince now? He read all sorts of scam emails already, but usually, it was Nigerian princes, business inquiries or investments, but a Korean prince?
And Jongdae totally did have a lot of money on the side as well, being kind of self-employed and jobless, starving.
And floccinau-what? Pulling up an online dictionary, he looked up the word, if it was a real one.
Floccinaucinihilipilification, noun, the estimation of something as valueless. How the fuck to spell such a weird English word?
As an author, he was always interested in new words, but asking for money while their email address suggests valuelessness? The contradiction in it. Finally slurping his cold ramen, Jongdae checked his bank account. He had a little money to spare, but no, the month had only begun and money was tight. He also checked the bank account info the supposed prince sent him. He searched for information connected to fraud containing details of said account details, but he came up with nothing, except that it was an account in Switzerland.
It sounded like a scam. It was a scam.
He finally looked at his clock and saw that he was supposed to meet with his editor in half an hour for his manuscript and he still had not showered and wore only his boxer shorts since he got up.
“Fu–cking shit!” he cussed, drowning his cold coffee before finishing gulping down the soup. He rushed to get everything done.
The next morning, he woke up with the hangover of his pathetic life. Chanyeol, his editor and best friend, had made him celebrate the acceptance of his manuscript. Fortunately, Chanyeol paid the whole evening, but Jongdae couldn’t remember shit. His throat felt sore and his limbs hurt. That could only mean that he talked a shit ton or screamed, while he was quite the quiet guy usually.
Jongdae stopped pitying himself when he tried to get where the sound was coming from. Looking around in confusion, he finally found his phone on the ground, in an array of strewn around clothes. He needed to process where the clothes were coming from.
The expensive-looking hoodie, the cap, the gigantic sneakers that resembled—
Just then, he was aware of the arms wrapped around his waist. Chanyeol had stayed over. Peeling himself out of the embrace he snatched the phone from the ground, picking in the pile of clothes until he found his boxer shorts.
Every amount of money helps me, even if you say it’s all you can afford as of now, I’m thankful nonetheless. And I wish you good luck with the publication of your book.
He furrowed his brows in confusion. Rubbing his eyes, he thought he might be dreaming, but the content of the email was real. “W-what the fuck?”
“Dae? What is it? Come back to bed, it’s still early,” Chanyeol mumbled from the covers, his face buried in Jongdae’s pillow while grabbing blindly after the latter.
“Cha-Chanyeol? Did I wr-write an email yesterd-day? Or-or sent money?”
Chanyeol looked up from the pillow, his eyes shut close, while he moved his head in the general direction of Jongdae’s voice. He wrinkled his nose after taking a whiff, “The air smells like testosterone, can you open a window?” He flopped back on the pillow, “I think? You talked about a weird scam email yesterday. Don’t tell me you sent them money while drunk.”
“I hav-v-ve no idea. I might check it...n-now.” Jongdae slid the window open and the cold October air flooded the musky smelling room.
“Sh-shut up!” Jongdae booted his computer while he shuffled around the room, cleaning the French press and heating the water, before disappearing into the bathroom.
He indeed sent money.
I hope you’re aware that your email does sound like a scam, especially with /that/ kind of email address. Valuelessness? No-one should put themselves down like this, even if it’s just an address. Every human should be valued and deserves to be treated like a human. I don’t have a lot of money, but maybe I can make a bit with my book that might be published soon and I feel a bit generous, therefore I sent you all I can afford for now.
November 28, 2024
Jongdae stared at the ceiling, the hangover pounding violently behind his temples and the taste in his mouth was foul. Chanyeol’s 32nd birthday was a nightmare, at least for his liver. He usually tried to get around social gatherings, being the hermit crab he was. Chanyeol had him tricked into it and Jongdae was kind of mad. Chanyeol should know as best friend how much he hated it. Even the fact that the two were best friends wouldn’t change that. He would write him a passive-aggressive email once he would be functional and have his coffee finally transferred into his veins. He was already typing out the message in his head when a sound disrupted his train of thought.
He listened into the silence that followed after. Nothing, until his doorbell rang a second time. Rolling out of bed, he quickly grabbed his briefs and a pair of joggers before he reached the door, the visitor pressing the bell a third time.
“Sir, maybe he isn’t at home?”
“No, he should be.”
“A-a s-second,” Jongdae half-shouted when he turned the key in the lock, just barely making out the voices in front of the door.
Pulling the door open, he found himself face to face with a man he saw countless times on TV. “I’m Byun Baekhyun, Crown Prince of Korea,” he held out his hand for Jongdae. “I’m here to repay the favour when you sent me money five years ago for my travel expen—”
He wasn’t able to continue when Jongdae’s eyes bulged and threw the door shut into Baekhyun’s face. He turned the lock and pull the door chain shut, leaning his face on the cold surface of the door. He couldn’t believe it, his mind racing a mile a second. The scam was legit? Did he really help the Crown Prince that appeared in Korea in early 2020? The Crown Prince that overthrew a whole system of lies and intrigues, getting a whole line of imposters into prison while paying his fraud fines just well? The one very good looking prince and bachelor Byun Baekhyun, even going as far as openly announcing he's bisexual—in Korea of all places? Why would he even say that?
“I-I m-must s...still be-be d-d-drunk-k!” The situation made him nervous and angsty.
A knock against the door. “Mr Kim, are you okay? I’m sorry for attacking you like this, should I have called or written an email?”
Jongdae straightened his back and turned the lock, but opened the door just as far as the chain let him. He just stared at the man, the prince, in front of his door. “How did, did you f-find m-my ad-dress?”
The prince sheepishly scratched the back of his hair before ruffling it, “Ehm, I might have my resources and since your email had your whole name and you mentioned you publishing a book, it was easy to find you.”
“Can’t he let you in, Prince Byun? People mind recognise you and you, Mr Kim, show some respect,” a stranger spoke up. Jongdae tried seeing who it was, but he was out of eyesight.
“Ah, I’m sorry, that’s my bodyguard Mr Lee, he can be a bit rough sometimes,” Baekhyun sounded apologetic, but his voice colour showed a slight hint of annoyance. “But he’s right, could you please let me in, so I can thank you properly? Or do you need a legitimation that I’m indeed not a scammer this time?” He smirked and Jongdae didn’t like it, he felt played. Disgruntled, he closed the door, unlocked the door chain and opened the door again, hiding behind it while he let the men in.
After Baekhyun stepped inside, he sent his bodyguard off, “Maybe it’s less stressful for you if we’re alone? And aren’t you cold?” He waved his long, slender fingers in a way too graceful display up and down while pointing at Jongdae, a smirk playing on his lips.
That was the point when Jongdae realised he was only wearing sweatpants, smelling, hangover and whatnot, and Korea’s crown prince was assessing him with interest.
“I’ll t-take a show-er quick-quickly. P-Please s-sit da-down, eh, o-over there.” He leapt off his feet and threw everything off his couch, shutting his laptop. “T-there is-s coffee.” And off he was hiding in the shower. He tried calming down while the scalding hot water ran down his bare back and he cussed to no-one in particular about his misfortune. Stepping outside the shower, he realised he had no clothes with him, except the worn underwear and sweats. With the towel securely wrapped around his waist, he poked his head outside the bathroom and stared right at a wide smiling Baekhyun who had his legs overthrown and his head leaned against his palm of the arm propped up on the armrest of the couch like he was waiting for Jongdae and looking like a prince, what he was, obviously. His smile was even wider and more handsome in reality. And his hair looked extremely fluffy, but Jongdae was surprised they seemed to be the same height, but his hair lacked style compared to Baekhyun’s, who had it fluffed, while he looked like a wet dog with his outgrown, slightly curly hair, reaching past his ears already.
Jongdae swallowed heavily and averted his eyes, “I for-forgot m-my clothes.”
“Don’t let my presence stop you from it, you could even walk around naked, it’s your apartment after all.” Jongdae wasn’t sure, but the prince sounded like he enjoyed his mishap to a great extent. Brushing past the prince, Jongdae made a straight beeline to his clothing rack and pulled everything off he needed and disappeared back into the bathroom without uttering a single word.
When he stepped back outside, he wore one of his few pairs of way too old and loose pants, a shirt and an old hoodie he got from Chanyeol when the latter had sorted out clothes a couple of years prior.
Nearing the prince, he didn’t know where to sit and he thought about sitting down on the ground if it wasn’t for the prince tapping the space on the couch next to him. Creeping closer, he dropped down on the couch, sitting right at the edge, unable to calm down.
“You should relax, just see me as a normal human being, and this is your home after all.” Jongdae just shook his head in denial and wrapped his hands around his mug with cold coffee from earlier to keep him occupied. Reaching into his hair, he pulled it back, some strands of his fringe hanging into his eyes were still dripping with water.
“Mr Kim, Jongdae, the coffee is cold.” A hand covered his own shaking one before it dropped to his knee and he flinched but didn’t move away. “Is this how you live?”
Embarrassed, he nodded his head. He wasn’t proud of his one-room apartment with a small and open kitchen and an even smaller bathroom. He couldn’t afford more, the publishing company paying just enough to cover for his rent and food. He couldn’t even afford to put money to the side anymore, except he planned on only living on instant ramyun.
“Did you live like this when you sent me money?” A nod again. “Why?”
“I-I felt g-gener-ous that-that day a-and s-sent you m-my sav-ings...for that m-m-month and I h-had drank t-that d-day,” Jongdae felt tongue-tied. He rubbed the palm of his hand against his eyes. Why did he feel like crying?
“To be honest, it wasn’t the most notable of me to use the fraud system to get money, but I repaid everyone once I was in Korea, even though not a lot of people sent me money. You were one of the few, but most of the people were people I knew, but a few emails got out to people I didn’t know, I don’t know, maybe I was desperate? So I’m here to thank you. And I don’t know why, but after looking into you, I felt like thanking you like this, personally, and not in some cold office. But I didn’t expect this and I’m shocked. To see you living like this and yet you still sent money while you could have easily withdrawn the transaction afterwards, if it was a mistake. And maybe it was also your kind of sassy answer. Sorry, I’m rambling.” Jongdae let the hand on his knee squeeze it without shaking it off. The warmth from the hand seeping into his leg and the light yet heavy press of rings was nice. “But your mention of the valuelessness struck a chord within me, that’s why I wanted to pay you back as best as possible, and maybe more. I don’t know what you think of money or how valuable it is for you, but let me fulfil your wishes and I’ll get you any amount of money you need.”
Jongdae covered the hand on his knee with his own, patting it awkwardly, “I-I d-don’t need m-money. I w-w.want t-to go t-to a b-bookst-store and m-maybe a d-date?”
“Pardon me? Just a visit in the bookstore and a date?”
“A date? With who?” He felt Baekhyun’s curious eyes on his face and he felt the blood rushing into his cheeks.
“M-maybe w-with y-you, if that is o-okay w-w-with you?”
A smile blossomed on the prince's face.