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Gangster, cohorts arrested for 'hey-it’s-me' scam

32 Comments

Police said Tuesday that a gangster has been arrested for impersonating an 80-year-old woman’s grandson with the purpose of swindling money from her by the "ore-ore" (“hey-it’s-me”) scam.

"Ore ore” scams involve con artists calling an elderly person, claiming to be a relative in trouble and requesting that money be transferred to them immediately. Over the past few years, numerous elderly people nationwide have been swindled out of billions of yen, according to the National Police Agency.

In the latest case, police said that Kenichi Kudo, 34, reputed to be a member of the Yamaguchi-gumi sub-group Kodo-kai, masterminded a scheme involving several accomplices to con elderly people out of their money.

TV Asahi quoted police as saying that the victim, who lives in Tokyo's Ota Ward, received a phone call last July from a man who impersonated her grandson saying “I need 1 million yen as I left my bag at the station.” The caller said he needed the money for an urgent business trip and said he would send a business colleague to pick up the money.

The woman contacted her family who notified police.

A 31-year-old man who showed up at a park to collect the money and a 28-year-old accomplice were arrested. The two men who were arrested told police that Kudo called the woman. However, Kudo has denied the charge saying he doesn't know anything about it.

© Japan Today

©2024 GPlusMedia Inc.

32 Comments
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Good. I really detest these scumbags.

12 ( +12 / -0 )

With so many cases of 'hey-it’s-me' scams being reported, taking advantage of the victim's kindness is a felony. Hope police catch the guys on top of the pyramid. The yaks are starting to dabble in this deplorable crime.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

About time that someone was able to catch on and do the right thing.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Ore is not used by children of middle class and up. Boku. Watakushi, watashi to talk to elders, friends and families and workers in offices. chimpiras who work in lowest level construction might use ore but ore is not by a majority of Japanese men. Lady must got suspicious. , I wonder these ore ore people used Kobe accent in Tokyo.

-1 ( +5 / -6 )

The penalties for these offenders are far too lenient. Japan needs to consider sterner punishments for these slimeballs --- like amputation of limbs.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Ore is not used by children of middle class and up. Boku. Watakushi, watashi to talk to elders, friends and families and workers in offices. chimpiras who work in lowest level construction might use ore but ore is not by a majority of Japanese men.

Maybe not in your generation Toshiko, but kids of all classes use it these days.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

Kudo has denied the charge saying he doesn’t know anything about it.

Yeah, because he was just at the park to play on the swings and do bird-watching.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Is it me, or does "Hey-it's-me scam" just not sound right? Why don't they just call it the "impersonation scam"? or the "telephone scam"?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Far from their mythical image as honorable do-go oders, yaks are human filth. They create nothing. They contribute nothing. They make their living on the suffering of the weak and the vulnerable.

I for one grow weary of the police line that crack downs will only drive them underground. Organized crime may be like HIV; maybe it can't be cured, but it can be reduced to beastly undetectable levels through aggressive, long-term efforts.

I find it interesting that yaks are weakest where society stands as one and communally says, "no, go away."

4 ( +5 / -1 )

I don't understand why people don't make better arrangements with their family members to stop such an easily preventable situation from happening!

For example, over the last New Year holidays my friend met up with his Japanese relatives and together they all agreed upon a "secret phrase" they would use/ask for if they were ever in a suspicious telephone situation. Problem solved!

Now, if someone calls his parents and says "Help! It's 'me!' I need money now!" the parents will ask for the secret phrase (which everyone in the family knows well.) If the other person can't "recall" it or doesn't know said pass-phrase? "Sorry, but 'you' and I agreed to this procedure, it's how 'we' decided 'we'd' do things from now on. Remember? No? You mean 'you' can't even tell me when we agreed to this, or where? Really? Strange! Well, 'you' also agreed with me that in such a situation, I should hang up now. So, good-bye!" End of conversation!

I suspect that the real reason this happens so often is that many Japanese sever their familial ties with parents/uncles/sisters or brothers for one reason or another. And if so, that's the real shame here!

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

@Mirai Hayashi

About time that someone was able to catch on and do the right thing.

It's not the first time. As more people are aware, the potential for these criminals failing and/or getting caught is significantly higher. I guess it's a good instance of mass media helping society.

Unfortunately, there will be some victims who are not capable of looking after themselves and are easy prey. At least, it was not the case with the above filth getting arrested. I hope their punishment is severe.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

It's time for a Rico-style law that makes being a member of a designated criminal organization a crime in and of itself.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

"I suspect that the real reason this happens so often is that many Japanese sever their familial ties with parents/uncles/sisters or brothers for one reason or another. And if so, that's the real shame here!"

This happens to many seniors because "New research suggests age-related changes in the brain make it harder to detect suspicious body language and other warning signs that people may be untrustworthy." This is from USA Today. But I remember reading the magical age for this weakness is 75. From that age people cannot deal with scams like a younger brain can. This kind of news is all over the place and you can find credible sources that cite medical research on this. My relative who I am close to was scammed twice (in the hundreds of dollars so nothing fatal to retirement lifestyle). The weak link is the telephone. And they are comfortable to reach for money they are used to which is a shame. Once they pick up it could be too late. You can show your senior relative how to check user ID before picking up. If they don't recognize the number then don't touch the phone. But I also agree that being isolated helps increase the chances of being a scam victim.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Toshiko

" Ore is not used by children of middle class and up. "

"ore-ore scam" is how this is usually called. We don´t know the actual words he used, and the article does not say.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

"cohorts" is a great word.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

He's a scumbag.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

How did he get arrested if they have no proof and he denies the claim?

I am sure the little dude will change his story once 'pressured' by his boss....so unfortunately, just cant see this sticking at all....

0 ( +0 / -0 )

How did he get arrested if they have no proof and he denies the claim?

By showing up to collect the money. If her grandson, assuming she has one, doesn't know him, he is in a truly deserved world of hurt.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Well, I drink to that Obasan who was alert and called the cops. Three cheers for her! I am happy time one of these scammers gets nailed.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

@ReformedBasher

He sent his underling to pick it up, he himself didnt go, and then just denied the whole thing to the cops. Did you even read the article?

Ore is not used by children of middle class and up. Boku. Watakushi, watashi to talk to elders, friends and families and workers in offices. chimpiras who work in lowest level construction might use ore but ore is not by a majority of Japanese men. Lady must got suspicious. , I wonder these ore ore people used Kobe accent in Tokyo

Oh please, Principals, Vice principals, bosses, managers, supervisors, anyone in power at their work place uses 'Ore'. Half of the boys at JHS and HS use 'Ore'. It has nothing to do with Chimperas. Most men who play sports also use it among their peers.

However, using at home within the family is a different story, and every family is different. Some boys are nice to their grandparents, some are not.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@strangerland: obasan is in my generation. Maybe obasan did not have a grandson? Anyway these chimpiras got caught. After they get out from jail, yubitsume ceremony by their bosses who lost sokaiya business because of their crimes revealed their organization name.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I can't believe the ore ore sagi is believed anymore. Too dumb.

And why can't they outlaw the crime syndicates and wipe them out/ drive them underground. We all know they do this crap.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@the_odeman

Then his underling has to do the explaining? Neither of them are the woman's grandson?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Families need to take pride in being just that 'families'. Have your Mothers and Fathers live with you or right next to you for these people are the ones who raised you and deserve to be taken care of by you.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

These ore ore talkers did not know people use bank transactions. Maybe the grandson lives in obasan;s house? Good for her and her relatives.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Is it me, or does "Hey-it's-me scam" just not sound right? Why don't they just call it the "impersonation scam"? or the "telephone scam"?

"Telephone scam" is too generic because there are LOTS of telephone scams. For example: "Hello, this is Mister Dorobo from your bank calling to let you know there is a problem with your account. But first for security's sake I need to verify your identity. Please confirm your bank account number and PIN with our records so that I can give you further details on the problem."

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I don't understand why people don't make better arrangements with their family members to stop such an easily preventable situation from happening!

I can't believe the ore ore sagi is believed anymore. Too dumb.

Actually it is not that easy because the scam evolves, as I see in JT articles in Japan it is in an earlier "stage", calling elderly people to scam, in my country it passes first for the child being in trouble calling his/her oba-chan, to some sophisticated calls to the young person to say that the telephone is doing test so they have to turn their cell off then call a relative saying that the nephew, son, husband, etc got in an accident and they need money to pay the expenses of the accident because "the victim" isn't insured, so when the older person tries to call the telephone is off. The latest one that I've heard is of my friend who was almost conned in this way: her husband crashed his car on the way to work, he is fine but, the other person, a pregnant woman was injured in the accident and the husband agreed to pay for an urgent flight or trip to the best clinic in the city /in this case we are in a province, so the trip was to the capital city), then passed the telephone to "the husband", who, sounding anxious and preoccupied would confirm to this, since he also is "injured", his voice would not be a discernible pattern. As for the tale, it seems incredible, but you have to add a couple of factors, when the wife cannot communicate directly she enters in distress and is not able to think properly, the con men knew two pieces of information key to the scam: first that her husband drove to work, that place have patches of bad reception because it is a mining site, and he had the money and kindness enough to do as the con man said : that he would pay for the treatment expenses of the "injured victim". Fortunately, before taking action in doing the money transfer, my friend called again to her husband only for him to be in a meeting and couldn't answer his phone, but texted her saying he was in a meeting, after that my friend realized it was a con, but the distress that she was put was enormous.

So, generate a "safe word", is a good idea, but it will not be necessarily effective if the family isn't close and the person most likely to call would get nervous when presented with a stressful situation

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Fadamor: Yeah, I know what you're saying, but it's not like native Japanese speakers can understand specifically what kind of scam this is by the name "ore-ore sagi" either. Most of them know these days basically because of the media coverage and word-of-mouth.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

"I can't believe the ore ore sagi is believed anymore." Why do old folks fall for any phone scams these days - anywhere in the world - more than younger people? In fact not just phone scams but any scam? You are probably younger but we are talking about older more dependent folks.

"Actually it is not that easy because the scam evolves," I feel you after reading the details. But the best thing to do is stop to take a 10-minute breather while doing nothing. Maybe call 119/110 (and tell that person to do so) to check what is really happening. If someone is injured the relative on the other side of the phone call can't do anything anyway with or without money. This becomes the the business of the local paramedics (you get a free ride anyway) and police. If someone really needs medical attention get that done first then settle anything financially in a legitimate fashion. Not making a sudden payment is not a crime.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Then his underling has to do the explaining? Neither of them are the woman's grandson?

Yeah, but I still dont understand your first post of linking him to showing up to pick up the money. The head Yak didnt, his goonie did. His goonie did all the work, got arrested, and is trying to explain why he did the scam. The goonie says the boss ordered him, the boss says he knows nothing, how on earth can the cops charge the boss?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Is it me, or does "Hey-it's-me scam" just not sound right? Why don't they just call it the "impersonation scam"? or the "telephone scam"?

@Tahoochi

In North America 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

0 ( +0 / -0 )

This is great news. I would hope that anyone being targeted for any scam would have the wits to do this as well.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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