A big part of what makes Japanese convenience stores so awesome is their amazing selection. And it’s not just a variety of products on offer, but services too. You can buy concert or movie tickets, get packages delivered from online shopping sites, and even pay your taxes at the convenience store in Japan. But perhaps the best service of all is the one recently provided by a branch of 7-Eleven in Hyogo Prefecture: protection from online scam artists.
Takeshi Yamada, 47, the owner of a 7-Eleven branch in the city of Kakogawa (about an hour from Kobe), was working in his store on a Monday afternoon last month. At about 3 o’clock, a 19-year-old foreign resident of the neighborhood came in and purchased 31,000 yen worth of gift cards.
After completing the transaction, though, the foreigner didn’t immediately leave the store. Instead, he took out his phone and began snapping photos of the cards. Thinking this was strange, Yamada asked the teen what he was doing, and in response he opened up a messaging app on his phone and showed the 7-Eleven owner a series of messages he’d received.
Looking through the messages, which were written in Japanese, Yamada learned that a stranger had contacted the foreigner through the app and said that he was selling new smartphones at cheap prices. Rather than using a credit card, though, the seller had instructed the foreigner to go out and buy gift cards, then send photos of them as payment.
The whole thing sounded fishy, and Yamada told the teen “This is probably a scam.” He convinced the foreigner not to send the photos, and to instead contact the police, who say that between January and April of this year, con artists have tricked five Kakogawa residents out of a total of 80 million yen.
OK, so the scam artist didn’t get the gift card codes that the teen had purchased, but he’s still stuck with 31,000 yen in cards he didn’t really want right? Nope. The next day, Yamada refunded the foreigner’s money in full.
For his quick-thinking, Yamada was awarded a certificate of accommodation by the Hyogo Prefectural Police’s Kakogawa Precinct, and he can now display it right next to the other certificate the store was awarded when they saved someone else from a similar scam last July, following Yamada’s instructions to his employees to be on the lookout for such attempted crimes.
Sources: Yahoo! Japan News/Kobe Shimbun Next
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