crime

Woman conned out of ¥14.2 mil in coronavirus scam

32 Comments

A woman her 70s living in in Tokyo’s Arakawa Ward became the victim of an apoden, or “telephone appointment,” scam after receiving a call from a man impersonating her older brother, which resulted in her being conned out of 14.2 million yen.

According to police, a man pretending to be the woman’s brother called between April 23 and April 27 and claimed he needed cash after losing a suitcase containing important documents for a job related to the coronavirus, Sankei Shimbun reported. The caller added that a male acquaintance whom he trusted would come to her home to pick up the money. The woman handed over a total of 14.2 million yen to the man who visited her residence several times.

The victim’s real brother contacted police on April 27 after hearing from his sister what happened. The male suspect who collected the money is about 30 to 35 years old with a medium build and was wearing a gray tracksuit.

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32 Comments
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I don't understand why people are still falling for these ore ore scams. There are warning posters in the train stations, the ATM rooms at Banks, and even public service announcements over loudspeakers not to.

4 ( +10 / -6 )

I hate it when criminals take advantage of people.

14 ( +14 / -0 )

"The victim’s real brother contacted police on April 27 after hearing from his sister what happened. The male suspect who collected the money is about 30 to 35 years old with a medium build and was wearing a gray tracksuit. One of their own got them as usual.

1 ( +6 / -5 )

The criminals almost always have a story that would embarrass the family, an unwanted pregnancy or work related failure. For many Japanese people, especially the old, the fear of shame is far worse than the fear of losing money.

8 ( +9 / -1 )

@pudus, that's right...

"receiving a call from a man impersonating her older brother,"

yeah he could speak Japanese lingo so convincing, he could even sound like her big brother-very skilled verbal scam tricknology aimed at their elderly, respect for the elderly goes out the window in Japan.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

I don't understand why people are still falling for these ore ore scams

I say this all the time. Anyone who has had the experience of having to deal with parents who have dementia would completely understand. And it could happen to you when you start losing it someday. There has been medical research that connects dementia with getting scammed. It can be like taking candy from a baby.

11 ( +13 / -2 )

"there has been medical research that connects dementia with getting scammed"

Creeps preying on the elderly with handicaps, is even more pathetic and disgusting.

10 ( +12 / -2 )

Please deal with this type of economic crimes targeting the weak people (maybe rich but socially vulnerable). They are more organized involving many yet dispersed not to be caught en masse. More unfortunately, the Japanese penal code and penalty for economic crimes seem to be lenient, disproportionate to the incurred damages on victims and society as a whole. They easily get out of prisons on parole.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

All older people need to be educated about these scams by their younger family members, even using passwords if necessary. They should be told to contact another family member before handing over any cash.

The victims are not the blame. The criminals are.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

¥14.2 million in cash would fill about six shoe boxes.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

@zichi

Surely not. That’s not even 15,000 ten-thousand yen notes.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Luca

going by recent find of ¥4 million in four shoe boxes. They don't need to be full. So how many shoe boxes?

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

@zichi

Indeed they don’t need to be full.

Point to you! ; )

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I really hope they find the scammer and the group behind him, and put them all behind bars for a very long time!

I hate scammers, especially the ones who are taking advantage of the elderly and helpless people.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Questions: Did this woman go to the bank and take out such a large sum and nobody nosy at the bank asked why? Did she have the cash in her house? Was her brother in on the scam?

Too many unknowns here.

by the way, dementia inflicted people usually cannot remember where they put things, money, passwords, routes to and from banks, stores nor their own homes and inside homes.

so my opinion it was an inside job by the brother.

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

I paid a bank loan last year for ¥12,000,000 cash. Fit in one shoebox easily. All new notes by the way, so not bulky.

but I still doubt this not sold woman could have found the notes, if she had dementia which we do not have conclusive evidence from this thin article.

but could have been hinted as toots where about by someone who knew, like the older brother?

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

Very unfortunate, it’s a pity she didn’t verify this with other family members.

Many elderly people in Australia give enduring power of attorney to trusted family members when it comes to financial matters, wonder if they have the same system in Japan?

3 ( +3 / -0 )

You gave the cash to a guy wearing a gray tracksuit. A gray tracksuit! Visited several times. You never smelled a rat until after the fact? Incredible.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Part of the problem is that a large group of people still do not put money in the bank and keeps large amounts of cash at home.

If the money is kept in the bank, the teller usually will flag it out when a sudden large sum withdrawal is being made. Also ATM withdrawals will likely be very difficult for such large sums due to limits.

I'm not saying that this case is the same but sometimes you need to put your trust somewhere for your own protection.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

How was she able to gather ¥14M so easily !?

If one’s parents do indeed have dementia, the children should step in & make sure their parents do not have easy access to such large amounts of money.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

How does one pretend to be the sibling, especially if talking to them on the phone? What if the bro actually was the one calling, had someone pick it up for a cut, then claim innocence.... Desperate ppl do desperate things.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

My Japanese mother-in-law received two phone calls like that last month. Each time, the male caller said it’s me, mom, I need help. They also knew my husband’s name and other personal things as well. If she didn’t live next door, she might have actually thought it was from him.

I don’t know how they can have so much personal information about people, or why they would feel completely fine with taking advantage of the elderly.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Sorry but I have no compassion for people who fall for these scams anymore. 14.2m and you're not going to even try to verify the bag man's identity. Just hand a ton of cash to any ol' joe that shows up at the door.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I don't understand why people are still falling for these ore ore scams. There are warning posters in the train stations

The posters don’t mean anything to the elderly because they’ve mostly forgotten the message with a few days if not hours. It’s not uncommon to be forgetful. Of course not all elderly have trouble remembering, but those also aren’t the ones getting took either.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

@Jordan Tanaka

I don’t know how they can have so much personal information about people, or why they would feel completely fine with taking advantage of the elderly.

Its not hard to get personal info on people these days. Many people tend to publish way too much info on their Facebook public profiles for example (family member names, picture of locations, etc...sound familar?) If you are observant enough, you can figure out where people live, who they are related to, or where they have been based on photos and events. Even a mediocre "investigator" can find enough info on you to pull off a fraudulent act like this. But its ultimately the responsibility of the person to do the due diligence to find out if the person is who he really says he is. Having a complete stranger come and pick up the money should have been the biggest tip off.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

The grey tracksuit should given it away.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

All older people need to be educated about these scams by their younger family members, even using passwords if necessary

If you have parents who are in their 70s or more and they have progressing dementia it does not work. They won't remember to use any passwords.

but I still doubt this not sold woman could have found the notes, if she had dementia which we do not have conclusive evidence from this thin article.

People with dementia still retain long term memory and would have this memory to access their money as long as it has been in the same place for a long time.

Sorry but I have no compassion for people who fall for these scams anymore.

It could happen to you when you are old, eventually it probably will happen to an old person you know and who is stricken by dementia.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Interesting story,

Right now there are hundreds of Scammers working the phones, not to mention Amazon and other E Commerce platforms trying to sell Corona Virus related products, I got 2 calls already, one offered me a NON alcoholic base hand washer and the other offered a laughable plug in home disinfectant, an Ultrasonic wave emitter that destroys all viruses including the famous COVID-19 for only 7.980 yen. It actually looked like a phone charger, and it could be one!!!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I'm trying to work out how she couldn't recognise the voice of her own brother on the phone?!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@zichi

> All older people need to be educated about these scams by their younger family members, even using passwords if necessary. They should be told to contact another family member before handing over any cash.

As you may know, there have been PSAs, TV shows, warnings on the news, newspaper articles, etc etc etc... warning of these kinds of frauds that have been going on for LITERALLY decades now. They also tell people take the exact precautions that you mentioned.

There is no excuse for not protecting yourself from this stuff. Even if you have dementia, you should have set up some cosigner on your bank account so that you cannot withdraw large sums of cash without the cosigner's approval. If you are so gullible that you fall into these decades old traps so easily, then sorry to say it, but you deserve it.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

you should have set up some cosigner on your bank account so that you cannot withdraw large sums of cash without the cosigner's approval. 

As far as I know bank accounts in Japan can't be co-owned. Anyone who criticizes the elderly with dementia about this obviously don't know the facts, don't understand the medical facts, and have no experience with this in their own family. Personally I've dealt with two family members with dementia and if you did you would understand.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

So family of dementia sufferers allow them to keep huge sums of cash at home? Sympathy running out for this type of crime, not exactly a new thing

I say this all the time. Anyone who has had the experience of having to deal with parents who have dementia would completely understand

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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