The Consumer Affairs Agency is cautioning the public about a rise in phone calls to elderly people from scammers saying they can make coronavirus vaccine appointments on their behalf. The suspicious callers have been requesting money and personal information in exchange for setting up a vaccination appointment.
The agency has received roughly 90 inquires nationwide about fraudulent vaccine consultations as of May 12, NHK reported. There have been cases where the caller requested 5,000 yen to book an appointment.
Police said in some cases a man pretending to be a city hall employee would show up at the targeted victim’s household asking the elderly resident if he or she would like to make an appointment to be vaccinated. When some intended victims got suspicious and asked for the man’s full name or the department where he works, the scammer would leave the premises.
Additionally, some scammers have claimed they work for the local government and asked for the victim’s address and the hours they are at home. Other suspicious callers stated that they had “leftover vaccine doses” and were looking for eligible people for the inoculation campaign.
Police and the Consumer Affairs Agency recommend citizens call the National Consumer Affairs Center of Japan (NCAC) for a free telephone consultation and additional information on COVID-19 vaccine-related scams. The number is 0120-797-188.© Japan Today