Take our user survey and make your voice heard.

3 teens arrested for conning elderly people out of Y400 mil


The requested article has expired, and is no longer available. Any related articles, and user comments are shown below.

© 2014 AFP

©2024 GPlusMedia Inc.

Login to comment

I swear, Japanese people, due to their naivety, have to be some of the world's most prime candidates for being duped by a con....any con....

2 ( +10 / -8 )

I really wonder if these three 17 year old were really running the show? Or were they being used by someone else to do the dirty work. It sounds like a rather complicated fraud to be pulled off by three high school aged boys! How were they able to get 550 bank cards as well? Doesn't say much about Japanese bank security, does it!

15 ( +16 / -1 )

I'm sorry, I hate to blame the victims in any case, but I really don't have any compassion for the victims anymore. This scam is so old and there has been so many PSA's and media attention on this, there is simply no excuse.

0 ( +4 / -6 )

It sure says a lot about the strength (I guess) of Japanese "family values" that, if the article's suggestion that risks are increased due to fractured extended families that don't talk or see one another for several years, despite being completely shut out of their relatives lives or otherwise ignored, when they come calling for help these elderly just do what their asked and offer a helping hand. I can tell you one thing - if I went several years without talking to my parents and called up out of the blue asking for a large sum of money I would probably get hung up on. These Japanese sure show some unconditional love!

4 ( +6 / -2 )

The guys on top of the pyramid always disappear.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Sounds like a Yakuza front and using kids so the big boys don't get caught......

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Ignorance can be cured. Stupid is forever.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

400Million yen? That seems like an unimaginable amount of money for a few teenagers to con from people. Somethings seems off and I'm taking an agreement with everyone above who thinks the boys are being used by someone/some organization.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

I was surprised at the 550 bank cards also. The banks say they are doing all they can be posting warnings not to wire funds to people you don't know. However, they allow 3 kids to open up 550 accounts without any suspicion?? The banks need to do a better job also!

5 ( +6 / -1 )

In North America apparently the most common word for this is "grandparent scam," also sometimes "granny scam" or "emergency scam."

Here is a link to an FBI website alerting people to the dangers of this crime, "The Grandparent Scam – Don't Let It Happen to You". http://www.fbi.gov/news/stories/2012/april/grandparent_040212

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Despite repeated police campaigns, an astonishing number of people fall for the trick every year in Japan and elsewhere.

and "elsewhere" ? Are they being tricked in other countries too ? Or do they mean some "parents" are living overseas ?

0 ( +3 / -3 )

They are minors, can't get charged, arrest their boss !!

0 ( +2 / -2 )

How`d they get all those cards????

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

550 bank accounts?!?! holy smokes. logistically, they would have had to visit every small town in japan with a local bank and opened an account there. that's a lot of small towns they visited!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Maybe the 550 bank account cards were created by the original bank account holder to be given to the con artists. "I'm going to send you a bank card, grandson. Take as much money as you need."

It would be interested to hear an audio clip of the con artists at work. I'd personally like to hear their convincing tone and persuasive story, but I'm sure the police could make use of it as well.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I swear, Japanese people, due to their naivety, have to be some of the world's most prime candidates for being duped by a con....any con....

This is happening all over the World. It may not be the money transfer scheme but every country has con artists duping elderly people.

0 ( +1 / -2 )

Change the laws and prosecute them as adults retroactively.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

550 bank accounts because their yak boss' set it all up.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Japanese have to get better at talking to each other. It's great to help out your kids, but wouldn't most parents want to talk to their kids first and find out whether paying money is the best solution?

I have sympathy for the victims and would love to be the one to dish out punishment to the criminals. But, the problem here again is Japanese culture. The idea that a problem is solved quickly by handing over money needs to be examined.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Still its pretty abhorrent that teens would take advantage of older folk like that. Low morals in today's youths.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Nikkeiboy, bank should be held accountable!

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

They just didn't know when to stop. They could have retired.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

After all the focus on this kind of thing I'm finding it harder and harder to sympathize with the victims. These scammers operate out of regular offices, many times they don't really hide their profession that well either. Certainly not much being done to keep off the streets. But if hundreds of people and entire companies can make millions (of yen) just calling people up and asking them to give them money, then they aren't really the problem.

0 ( +2 / -1 )

@combinibento part of it may be family ties/affection, but part is probably a strong desire to avoid embarrassment/preserve face

@FightingViking this type of scam is not unique to Japan, although it certainly seems very widespread/popular here

@Magnus Roe I agree. As I've said elsewhere on this topic, after all of the media attention, signs, stickers, neighborhood group meetings, elders' groups' lectures, etc., it is becoming very hard to muster sympathy, except for those with actual mental impairment.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

and "elsewhere" ? Are they being tricked in other countries too ? Or do they mean some "parents" are living overseas ?

It's rampant in the US as well, same method, "It's me!" with the money wired by Western Union.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Commentators suggest that the often-fragmented lives of extended families, in which close relatives may not see each other for years, heightens the risks.

That makes it even simpler in not giving them any money. Years of no contact means no financial responsibility in baling you out.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

In their early 60s,and someone can fake being their son? Clearly family ties are not as strong as the Japanese like to think they are compared to "selfish individuallistic westerners".

As for it happening elsewhere - sorry - never heard of it, compared to the frequency in Japan.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

As for it happening elsewhere - sorry - never heard of it, compared to the frequency in Japan.

It happens lots in other countries, whether you have heard about it or not.

-2 ( +1 / -2 )

I sayif they still have the money, then give it back. Most likely not the case though so, I suggest the work off the debt cleaning and doing forced labor a ll the time wearing jackets that say something like "we conned ¥400 million from people and got caught!"

People would see this and would think twice about trying it themselves.

And as far as I am concerned let them pay for their bills while in prison too!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

As others have mentioned, this scam is happening in other countries as well. However, this scam seems to work so well in Japan because the stigma of the family being disgraced takes priority over caution. The caller apparently HAS to include some sort of situation that would result in a scandal in order for the victim to be compelled to take care of it as quick as possible.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

NathalieB, the scripts for the calls can be very involved, complete with traffic or siren sounds, and multiple people playing parts. It isn't always a case of the person claiming to be the son or grandchild.

“I got a telephone call, and a man was on, and he said that my grandson was in jail, and that I should pay money to get him out on bail or he was going to stay there,” said Ruth Winter, a recent victim of such a scam. “And instead of thinking, my grandma emotion overcame me.”

One elderly woman in Hawaii lost $200,000 because she thought she was paying her grandson's bail, just last month. More-

"Madison police said in a news release the scam happened late in March, the victim a 79-year-old woman living on the Far East Side.

"She got a phone call from someone identifying himself as her grandson," said police spokesman Joel DeSpain. "He said he needed money to get out of jail."

A second person got on the phone, claiming to be the grandson's lawyer.

"The 'lawyer' said there had been a crash, that her grandson had been driving drunk and the funds were needed to repair the car her grandson hit," DeSpain said."

"They may just start with that: 'Grandma? Grandpa?' and let that older person fill in the information,” explained Jason Echols, a consumer protection specialist with Age Options of Oak Park. The agency serves seniors in a variety of areas and has seen this scam strike too often.

"Absolutely it’s a big scam. It’s something that is very common and we do hear a lot about it," said Echols.

After Solinski did fill in that information, the predators quickly went in for the kill.

"I said, ‘What do u need?’ She said,’I’m in California… I’m at a girlfriends wedding, but we’ve had an accident.’ And I said, ‘Well, how come you sound so funny?’ and she said, ‘I hit my nose and I broke my nose… I need some money to get out of jail," Solinski said.

“So then she said, ‘I can’t pay for lawyers, so they gave me a court-appointed lawyer. Can you talk with her grandma because I, they’ll tell you how much I need.’ And so the woman talked to me, she gave me her name but I can’t remember the name. She said, 'We need $15,000 for bond money and I need you to send it to this address and this account.”

0 ( +1 / -1 )

“Who is this?” is the way I always answer my phone. The caller says, “Is Jim there?” I say, “do not call this number again,” and report it to the Do Not Call Registry. They are supposed to be fined $10,000 for making the next call.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

This guys should be arrested, processed, and locked for good. Scamming elderly people? The nerve!! This crooks are the lowest of the low.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Login to leave a comment

Facebook users

Use your Facebook account to login or register with JapanToday. By doing so, you will also receive an email inviting you to receive our news alerts.

Facebook Connect

Login with your JapanToday account

User registration

Articles, Offers & Useful Resources

A mix of what's trending on our other sites