In Japan, cash remains the most popular way to pay for things. E-money cards are gaining ground, but primarily among younger consumers, with older shoppers still far more likely to count out bills and coins at the register.
So a 35-year-old Nepalese convenience store clerk in Fukushima City was surprised last month when an elderly woman walked into the store he works at and asked to purchase an e-money card. Then he was even more surprised when she told him the amount she wanted put on the card: 150,000 yen.
Sure, it was possible that the woman was a digital-savvy techno granny, but with scams in Japan frequently targeting the elderly, the clerk felt like he should make sure the woman wasn’t being taken advantage of. “Are you buying the card to use for yourself?” he asked, to which the woman replied: “I made some kind of mistake with a website, so I have to transfer money to them. They said they’ll send the leftover amount back to me at a later date.”
Now certain that the woman was being targeted by fraudsters, the clerk cautioned her against making the purchase. However, the earnest-to-a-fault women wasn’t about to shirk what she felt was her legal responsibility to pay up. “But I was the one who made a mistake,” she countered, while insisting that she needed to buy the card. The clerk, though, wouldn’t take yes for an answer, and continued trying to talk her out of it. After 10 minutes of discussion, he was finally able to persuade her to call the police before buying the card, and after speaking with officers decided against buying it.
Not only did the clerk, a 12-year resident of Japan who lives in Fukushima with his Japanese wife and their son, save the woman from being scammed out of the 150,000-yen e-money card, his actions also prevented her from going to another store and purchasing another 400,000-yen card that the scammers had instructed her to buy.
“The woman thanked me, which made me feel happy,” said the clerk, who added “I hope I can continue to help elderly citizens and help make a society free of fraud.” He was also presented with a letter of commendation from the Fukushima Prefectural Police.
Source: Yomiuri Shimbun via Rakuten Inofoseek News via Jin
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