crime

Ibaraki issues warnings against fake police officers after elderly woman conned out of money

7 Comments
By SoraNews24

For many years now, Japan has been a hotbed of cons targeting the growing elderly population. The most notorious swindle is the ore ore sagi where the criminal calls the victim on the phone pretending to be a son or other family member and requesting large sums of money to be transferred to their account for an “emergency.”

However, as with any con, it works on diminishing returns, as the public gradually becomes more and more aware of it – just ask the Prince of Nigeria, wherever he is these days. So in order to stay ahead of the curve, these fraudsters need to adapt with new tactics such as those found in a complex theft that took place of the course of this autumn.

At about 4 p.m. on Sept 19, the doorbell of an 85-year-old woman in Tsukuba City, Ibaraki Prefecture, rang. Standing at the entrance was a man claiming to be a police officer who was canvassing the neighborhood and warning residences of an ore ore sagi going around. He gave the woman a card with a phone number to call in the event she receive a suspicious phone call, and left.

The very next day, the same woman’s phone rang. On the other end was a young man claiming to be a relative who had gotten his mistress pregnant and needed money to deal with the situation. Smelling a shakedown, the woman called the number she had been given the day before and spoke with a “fraud consultant.”

The consultant asked her to play along with the scam so that the police could track and catch the people behind it. She agreed and sent 2.5 million yen to an account in Tokyo expecting it to be used as bait then returned.

However, rather than news of an arrest, the “officer” from the consultation called back later on and told her they would need more money to catch these slippery bandits. This happened twice between then and Oct 3, resulting in a further 2 million yen in cash and two bank cards being sent to the con artists under what she thought was the supervision of the police.

They remained in contact and the “officer” withdrew a total of about 28 million yen from her bank accounts using the cards she sent. However, on 30 November the line was suddenly disconnected. It was then that the crushing reality came down on her and she went to the real police to file a report, with losses totaling 32.5 million yen.

Readers of the news online were filled with amazement and disgust over this bold cheating of an elderly woman out of her money.

“They certainly seem clever, so isn’t there a better way for them to make money?”

“I guess they just have a criminal mind, and aren’t suited for regular living.”

“That lady was sitting on an awful lot of money.”

“The sting was a sting.”

“If a cop asked me to give them money I’d just laugh.”

“They’re getting more cunning.”

“It’s a good thing I don’t have any money. I don’t have to worry about this kind of thing.”

“It’s very suspicious that the call would come a day after the card, but I guess they couldn’t wait too long in case the woman would lose the number.”

By taking their con to that next level, the perpetrators are entering a whole new level of risk as well, adding impersonating a police officer and interfering with police business to an already hefty grand larceny charge.

For the time being, however, this person or people are still at large, so police–the real police this time–are urging caution.

Part of staying vigilant is looking for the warning signs such as in this instance where the fake police number began with “050,” a prefix used for phones outside the traditional network such as internet-based voice communication. Also, the police will never ask you to use your own money in their sting operations.

It’s also important to note that while seniors are primary targets, no one is safe from the threat of scams. As one comment wisely put it: “Those who think they can never be cheated are the easiest ones to cheat.”

Sources: Asahi Shimbun, Kinisoku

Read more stories from SoraNews24.

-- Japanese police question man for “not looking good in a suit,” turns out he robbed an old lady

-- Japanese woman seeks justice after buying four million-dollar bills from counterfeiters

-- Real fashion police: Con man arrested in Tokyo, police tipped off by ill-fitting suit

© SoraNews24

©2020 GPlusMedia Inc.

7 Comments
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Imagine that bigger amount how many years could I work to earn that bigger amount, maybe 20 years or more ?

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

This scam would never work with my grandmother. If someone calls her claiming to be one of her grand kids or relatives, she would call our phone directly and ask if we just called her. It happened twice but lost no money at all. If its a company or something, she would call us and ask us to call them and talk to them. This is what they need to do to help the elderly and vulnerable tackle this issue.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Sir_Bentley,

This scam would never work with my grandmother. If someone calls her claiming to be one of her grand kids or relatives, she would call our phone directly and ask if we just called her.

I think you failed to read the article. This scam does not rely on a vulnerable grandparent not directly checking in with their kids. This fake police scam relied on a socially conscious senior wanting to help the police take down some ore-ore scumbags.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

At about 4 p.m. on Sept 19, the doorbell of an 85-year-old woman in Tsukuba City, Ibaraki Prefecture, rang. Standing at the entrance was a man claiming to be a police officer who was canvassing the neighborhood and warning residences of an ore ore sagi going around. He gave the woman a card with a phone number to call in the event she receive a suspicious phone call, and left.

> The very next day, the same woman’s phone rang. On the other end was a young man claiming to be a relative who had gotten his mistress pregnant and needed money to deal with the situation. Smelling a shakedown, the woman called the number she had been given the day before and spoke with a “fraud consultant.”

> The consultant asked her to play along with the scam so that the police could track and catch the people behind it. She agreed and sent 2.5 million yen to an account in Tokyo expecting it to be used as bait then returned.

The scams keep getting more and more elaborate...

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Sir Bentley:

This scam would never work with my grandmother. If someone calls her claiming to be one of her grand kids or relatives, she would call our phone directly and ask if we just called her.

You did not read the article before commenting, did you?

1 ( +2 / -1 )

yeah that was a pretty good one. Ive seen them set up fake web sites, that could pass for the real thing. Like they want you to send them money to send an inheritance, and that money is being held in another country with different currency so they just keep stacking the charges. Cant believe people fall for this stuff.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

If I got such a call from the (fake) police, I would say use your money as bait, not mine.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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