My husband of 50 years has gotten sucked into a Chinese dating site. A woman(?) has 'fallen in love' with him and wants him to open an account at HSBC so she can start a 'fund' for him to give him money. I see RED FLAGS. What kind of a scam is this?
What kind of a scam is this?
In my opinion, it doesn't really matter how an individual scam works. All people need to know is that if someone actually wanted to send you money (exceedingly unlikely when it comes to strangers on the internet) they could do so without you opening a new bank account, or giving them full access to your existing bank account, or giving them your SSN/Name/Birthday, etc. There are legitimate ways to send money without any of those things, so anything that involves those things is almost certainly a scam.
In very rare cases it can be ignorance about methods for safe money transfer, but in such cases the sender would most likely be receptive to hearing about standard approaches for sending money securely, whereas the scammers will insist on their approach.
In this particular case, it could be money laundering, it could be a grab at a minimum deposit (not applicable with some accounts of course), it could be a step towards a bigger identity-theft scam involving new credit lines, it's hard to say without the scam developing further. When there's no apparent financial risk, that is either coming later or the scam carries other risks (like legal consequences from money laundering).
It's a flavor of scam called a "con". The word "con" is short for "confidence", and the process is simple. The con artist gains the trust of people. It can be those he knows, friends, family, fellow church/synagogue members, etc. They spend some time building some kind of relationship, which eventually involves money, and ultimately the loss of money from the mark (the victim).
Nearly 100% (I can't say '100' because one case proves 100 to be false) of the time, those offering to give money, unrequested, to someone they don't really know, are setting them up for a con. Ultimately steeling their money.
I've met people on line and sent them money. They didn't ask me directly, but either (a) were fundraising for a charity, in one case, it was a charity I already knew, so it wasn't an issue to 'sponsor' them in a road race to support them as an online friend, with money sent right to the charity. (b) Through 3rd party legit organizations such as GoFundMe, in which case, I choose the amount to gift, and the organization at least vets the cause. If I send $100 to a stranger to help with a hospital bill, the GoFundMe org has at least confirmed the details. (c) Sending a small gift to start a new baby college acct. When I saw a mention of this effort, all I needed was an email address. There are many cash transfer services, PayPal being one you might have heard of. To send money, I just enter the recipient's email and off it goes. The red flag is the need for any account to be set up that might require you to give them back information any more private than email. The system is set up this way to help avoid scams. The ability of, say, that new mom to receive cash, is a one way path.
The con can start any number of ways, but again, the red flag is the need to set up a new account.
Congrats on 50 years!
This can be a simple con artist, or something similar to a refund scam. Other answers have explained the con artist type, and I think that is the more probable answer. The later one uses the victim's computer to display an incorrectly sent money by accessing the browser's debug features, and asks the victim to send back the excess amount. Convince him to send some money to their common account, or that she's a victim of a fraud (by showing him the altered webbank page), and send her his own money could be two ways to progress from that point.
A bit offtopic, but you might have done something wrong. You implied that you might file for divorce "It looks like it might not make 51", and also you've moved all your (and your husband's) savings into an account he can't access. Hiding your husband's money during (or before) a divorce procedure - although I understand your reasoning - could be illegal depending on the local law. I guess a lot more people would hide money if that would be legal.