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Audacious crooks using loophole in courts for new type of scam

23 Comments

Recently, the Ministry of Justice web site posted a warning against abuses of the so-called "tokusoku tetsuzuki" (demand procedures) by which the nation's small-claims courts are being harnessed to defraud people by invoicing them for nonexistent services.

Many of these services were so-called "one-click" frauds, where a person who merely strays onto a site is billed as if he had ordered goods offered by the site -- often pornography.

Small claims courts are generally set up for handling disputes of less than 600,000 yen, which, while still less than the millions of yen harvested by big-time professional swindlers, nevertheless is just as aggravating if not more so, as they carry the authority of the law.

Weekly Playboy (Feb 29) reports that the justice ministry acted following a growing number of claims by victims to the National Consumer Affairs Center of Japan. It warns readers that if they receive a notification of demand from a small-claims court, in an envelope bearing the stamp "tokubetsu sotatsu" (special service of process), they ignore it at their peril. Why? Because from the date of receipt they have two weeks to respond with an "igi moshitate" (petition of objection) or the demand from the court is treated as valid and the recipient can be legally ordered to pay the full amount.

"Last year, an Osaka man came for a consultation when he received one such claim via the court, demanding he pay 70,000 yen," says Tetsuya Nakao of the Meitoku Legal Office. "He became really agitated when we advised him that he could not simply disregard the claim."

According to Nakao, an order to make payment from a small claims court carries the same force as a decision in a regular court. "If you don't pay, an equivalent amount of your property can be forcibly confiscated," he added.

But how is it, Playboy's reporter asks, that the court will go to work on behalf of these, these...infernal crooks!?

"The small-claims courts only examine the affidavits," explains Nakao. "They don't make any effort to determine if they are actually valid or not. It's all done through documentation, so even if you never set foot in the court, if the claimant files the necessary documents, you can be ordered to make payment.

"Naturally this is an act of criminal fraud, but the basic concept is that the person involved must take action to protect himself. If he should actually transfer money to the crooks' account they will quickly shift the funds elsewhere, so even if the police are brought in, the chances of recovering the money are unlikely," Nakao pointed out.

Should such a notification from the small claims court arrive in your mailbox, time is of the essence, as you have only two weeks to respond with your objection. The instructions for writing one are enclosed in the same envelope as the notification; submission can be made via an attorney, legal office, the small-claims court or a branch of the National Consumer Affairs Center of Japan.

Once the objection has been filed, the claim is automatically voided, which means those who submitted the charges have no choice but to pursue their monetary claims through the regular courts -- where they will be required to provide evidence and appear in person in the court, where they risk exposure. Their failure to make an appearance at two consecutive sessions will nullify their claim.

Nakao warns that some crooks have even gone as far as to mail out claims in forged court envelopes designed to keep the victim confused.

"In some cases, the telephone number for the 'court' printed on the envelope is actually that of the swindlers," he says. "So to be safe you should disregard it and use the telephone book or other resource to confirm it's the real number.

"Above all, you need to respond to any such claim in a calm and cautious manner."

© Japan Today

©2019 GPlusMedia Inc.

23 Comments
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Family court papers are similar.

By the way, who has a phone book?

4 ( +7 / -3 )

“They don’t make any effort to determine if they are actually valid or not.

What kind of court is that ? A court that does not investigate and work for the crook relying their scam... How come Japan is not shameful of having such of out of the this age judicial system putting all citizen at risk ? I understand better now why Japanese are so meticulous trying to protect their personal address by all mean..I believe we will all be in deep trouble. ..with NyMumber when all our data will be (soone or later) disclosed to those crook.

8 ( +11 / -3 )

Should such a notification from the small claims court arrive in your mailbox, time is of the essence, as you have only two weeks to respond with your objection.

The court notice does not arrive in a mail box. The postman delivers it in person, and asks for a receipt signature or inkan. The two week period starts from the date of the receipt signature.

Citizen2012FEB. 17, 2016 - 10:09AM JST

“They don’t make any effort to determine if they are actually valid or not.

What kind of court is that ? A court that does not investigate and work for the crook relying their scam

Any court judges from a disinterested position. It is the plaintiff that is to prove the claim and it is the defendant that is to raise doubts to the plaintiff''s claim. If the defendant does nothing, the court will let the plaintiff win.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

I accidentally clicked on a link that took me to one of those sites, and the next thing I knew I was receiving very aggressive demands for money "or legal action will be taken," the threat went. I printed out all the screens and took it to the local police station. The cop I talked to looked at me like I'd stepped off a flying saucer. I'm not sure he even knew what a computer or the internet was. I suggested he send the material to MPD headquarters as there was likely to be someone there who would know what it was all about. Anyway I never heard back from the site operator. Perhaps he'd met his quota by then and retired in the Philippines.

5 ( +6 / -0 )

Re Citizen2012: All courts are like that, Documents are presented in court as evidence by opposing parties it is for the opposing party to object the authenticity / validity of the submitting parties documents court doesn't do it by default. There is no central verification system or authority to that so much for the idea of justice btw the higher paid lawyer wins most of the time.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

btw the higher paid lawyer wins most of the time.

Lawyers aren't used for small claims. The whole purpose of the exercise is to keep the costs down.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Victims should be able to counter-claim in the same manner for damages. All costs such as the paperwork and lost time spent dealing with the false claim and possible defamation as these claims go into the public records.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Documents are presented in court as evidence by opposing parties it is for the opposing party to object the authenticity / >>validity of the submitting parties documents court doesn't do it by default

What document can bring somebody that did not buy anything on their website ? It is to the plaintiff to bring evidences that their claim is valid, so far this system is that you are guilty unless you prove your are not, in addition, In those cases it is reported to be a scam so any system carrying a scam to the end...ending charging the other party based on false evidences should be reformed and does not deserve the name of a court of justice.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Citizen2012

No you only need to declare that you disagree with their claim. From their hearing at court starts with the judge presiding ruling which side has a stronger case at the end. By not declare that you disagree with the claim then you are admitting the claim by default.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

You gotta love their ingenuity and audacity.... using the actual court system to scam people. It says a lot about Japan when you think about it.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

So, if I accidentally click on a link and then move on, the scammers can send mail to my home address? Sounds like your ISP is in cahoots with the scammer. How else is the scammer going to get your home address?

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Citizen2012FEB. 17, 2016 - 10:09AM JST “They don’t make any effort to determine if they are actually valid or not." What kind of court is that ?

It's a Japanese court! They're waiting for a confession! Absolves them of having anyone do the necessary police work.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

Citizen2012Feb. 17, 2016 - 10:09AM JST “They don’t make any effort to determine if they are actually valid or not. What kind of court is that ?

Just about every small class court in the U.S. is like that too.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

****I have received numerous threatening emails of this type so just ignore them. They never know my name and address anyway, and I do not think they can extort money by email!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

The small-claims courts only examine the affidavits,” explains Nakao. “They don’t make any effort to determine if they are actually valid or not. It’s all done through documentation, so even if you never set foot in the court, if the claimant files the necessary documents, you can be ordered to make payment.

So you are guilty (of non payment to the crook) by default and have to pay these crooks.

They need to revise the Small Claims Court procedure.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

This how is has work for centuries. Japan authorises have aways sided with the higher class, it is presumed that the company lodging the claim is of good character. Why did it take so long to see in the defendant favour. because it happen to someone in a high class who was not ashamed of trolling pornsites to come forward.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

In Britain we have county courts. I used to use them a lot when I was running a business in Britain. When customers would not pay bills, they were sent a warning of court action. If they still did not pay and the amount was small enough, I used to take action through the county court. A summons would be served. The defendant then had two weeks to respond. They never did respond because they knew they were guilty. Most just paid at that point as they were just withholding payment proabably to all their suppliers as long as possible. Ater two weeks if they had not paid, I could send in the bailiffs.

This seems very similar to the Japanese system. The Japanese system is not strange.

What happens if you refuse to accept delivery from the postman in Japan?

3 ( +2 / -0 )

What kind of court is that ? A court that does not investigate and work for the crook relying their scam... How come Japan is not shameful of having such of out of the this age judicial system putting all citizen at risk ?

Huh? Please tell us which country has a judiciary system that investigates for the plaintiff. I really want to know.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

FadamorFEB. 18, 2016 - 03:48AM JST So, if I accidentally click on a link and then move on, the scammers can send mail to my home address? Sounds like your ISP is in cahoots with the scammer. How else is the scammer going to get your home address?

This!

How would a website operator know your name and address unless you voluntarily disclose it or they get it from your ISP? The ISP should never disclose it without a court order so either their employees are on the payroll of the crooks or the people who click on those links are really ret*rds and provide their personal details on their own. As this is Japan the latter wouldn't surprise me one bit.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

How would a website operator know your name and address unless you voluntarily disclose it or they get it from your ISP?

You know people do actually post their personal information, including name and address, on the internet. Believe it or not, there are other ways of getting that information than just from the ISP.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

StrangerlandFEB. 22, 2016 - 02:06PM JST You know people do actually post their personal information, including name and address, on the internet. Believe it or not, there are other ways of getting that information than just from the ISP.

Of course some people are dumb enough to do that however the crooks would still need to connect the IP address of the person clicking on their link to the name and address of the same person on the Net. Unless the person enters his / her name and address on the crooks' site I don't see how they would do that.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

MikeRowave: Unless the person enters his / her name and address on the crooks' site I don't see how they would do that.

Do any sites at all save personal information in unencrypted cookies in your browser cache? Are these cookies accessible to the crooks? Can the crooks buy malware that they can install when you visit their site? Or buy lists of access info for previously hacked computers? They don't have to be programmers to do those last few.

How many people are running unpatched versions of Windows XP or Vista or whatever?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Of course some people are dumb enough to do that however the crooks would still need to connect the IP address of the person clicking on their link to the name and address of the same person on the Net. Unless the person enters his / her name and address on the crooks' site I don't see how they would do that.

Well, you already brought up one possibility - they have filled out their name and address on the crook's site. There are other ways of connecting these things too though, without knowing specifics, it's impossible to say how. Turbostat raised some other possibilities. But the fact is there are more possibilities than simply the ISP giving up your information - which would be stupid as there would not be any particular benefit to them, and getting caught for it could theoretically destroy their business.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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