A 7-Eleven store in Tokyo Photo: Pakutaso
crime

Convenience store owner saves foreigner from online scam artist

20 Comments
By Casey Baseel, SoraNews24

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

Read more stories from SoraNews24.

-- App that buys your receipts crashes within hours of release due to too many users

-- How to make your own postcards using photos from your phone at 7-Eleven

-- 35-year-old otaku throws US$17,700 wedding ceremony in Tokyo so he can marry his 2-D crush

© SoraNews24

©2019 GPlusMedia Inc.

20 Comments
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Good for him! And very fortunate for the foreigner!

And everyone should beware of gift card scams. If anyone is asking for payments with gift cards only, it is a scam.

18 ( +18 / -0 )

Sounds like the poor boy panicked, being young and in a foreign country and seeing a threatening message like that. Well done to the sharp convenience store worker

-6 ( +3 / -9 )

Sounds like the poor boy panicked, being young and in a foreign country and seeing a threatening message like that.

???

What threatening message?

8 ( +8 / -0 )

Good for him! And very fortunate for the foreigner!

Agree 100%. Wish there were more people like this Mr. Yamada!

9 ( +9 / -0 )

The Amazon cards now have a warning on them not to use the cards for anything else besides shopping on Amazon. This scam has been going on for a few years now. Craigslist is full of scam ads wanting people to pay with amazon cards or to pay cash by bank transfer. It amazes me how many fools actually fall for these scams. If something on the internet seems too good to be true, it always is. A fool and his money are easily parted, which keeps these lowlifes in business.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

Great news! But hard to believe this netted 80 million yen from 5 victims.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

well done, good to see real citizenship in action

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

So many online scams even the clever can be caught. Kakogawa is about 30 minutes on the S Rapid from Kobe.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Thank goodness Mr Yamada intervened. An obvious scam, but when you are a bit gullible and don't speak the language.....

0 ( +0 / -0 )

So how did the scam work? Getting people to buy gift cards from a certain entity?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

So how did the scam work? Getting people to buy gift cards from a certain entity?

I believe the gift card numbers are sent to the scammer, which are then activated and used, without ever sending the product the person thought they were purchasing through purchases of the gift cards.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

the product the person thought they were purchasing through purchases of the gift cards.

Or rather, the product the person thought they were paying for, with the gift cards they had purchased.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Phrase of the day:

人を見たら泥棒に思え。

Hito wo mitara dorobo ni omoe

(Be suspicious of everybody.)

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

“Or rather, the product the person thought they were paying for, with the gift cards they had purchased.”

Lately fraudsters are also instructing people to get gift cards to pay for supposed unpaid internet charges etc. I think 7-11 recently removed Nanaco electronic money gift cards from their stores because of such cases.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Scams happen ALL the time, by weirdos, yakuza or even women scamming on dating apps, there were articles of this in the past.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

I learned my lessons 30 years ago by sending money to buy a game to normal postal address (15 euros it was...) game which never arrived.

You have mean people everywhere.

I have made payback time to many scammers in return in many ways ;)

But this is pure idiocy because you can pay through wire transfer for free nowadays.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

There are legitimate reasons to buy multiple gift cards, especially ones that cannot be reloaded, but there is a huge underground of people who have figured out the default pin-codes based on the card number alone. Many of the multitude of gift cards have lots of fraud because of weak or no randomness to the pin codes. Basically, it comes down to how quickly a computer can count to 9999.

Use them when I want to be anonymous with service payments online (VPNs), careful to never use the cards near home, in chain stores with video, or with anything shipped.

And they are also good as ... er ... gifts for teens.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

You know of course that the Euro didn't exist until 1999 ~ 2002. Hardly 30 years ago

I learned my lessons 30 years ago by sending money to buy a game to normal postal address (15 euros it was...) game which never arrived.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Shouldn't that be a certificate of commendation?

Or is Mr Yamada one of the poor 7-11 franchisees who must spend 500 hours per month in his store?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Great news! But hard to believe this netted 80 million yen from 5 victims.

It doesn't say that "this type of scam" has netted 80 million .

The majority of the amount has probably come from the old "ore-ore" scam against the elderly.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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