Wow Japanese people are naive. Okay, so of course not all Japanese people are naive. I wouldn’t even say that the majority of Japanese people are naive, because I don’t have any kind of statistics to back it up. That being said, I do see a lot of stories in Japanese news about Japanese people(of all ages, not just old people) being scammed. I think this is some kind of mysterious compensation for the fact that Japan has such a low crime rate and so few people in jail. It’s instead full of scammers and people who are gullible enough to get scammed. When I checked out yesterday’s news there was a story about a 67 year old woman who was scammed out of around 4 000 000 yen($40 000 or so).
So onto how she got scammed. She received a call from a company that told her they knew winning lottery numbers and that they would sell them to her for the money. They directed her to deposit money into a bank account, after the money was deposited they said they would hand over the codes to her. She didn’t transfer the money all in one go either, she was transferring it over a 3 month period in separate instalments. After all of the money was transferred she suddenly was no longer able to make contact with the company’s representative. Surprise surprise.
First off, I don’t even understand how you could possibly fall for this kind of scam to start with. Some deals are just to good to be true and this is a very obvious one. It’s like the guy who keeps emailing me saying he works as an Executive for Mizuho Bank in Japan and has a lucrative business deal I might be interested in, who for some reason only has an AOL.com email address. A sane person should be able to smell a scam from a mile away. Funnily enough, this is actually quite a popular scam in Japan at the moment. A lot of people must be falling for it too, or the scammers wouldn’t be using it. I saw a show warning people about this particular scam on TV a month or two ago, with lottery companies making official statements telling people that nobody could possibly know the winning numbers before a draw. Thanks for spelling it out nice and clear guys, but it seems that people still aren’t listening hard enough.
The second thing that kind of surprised me was the length of time she was tricked for. You’d think over the course of 3 months you might actually have some time to cool your head off and think twice about what you’re doing? Or maybe start to get concerned about your bank account’s dwindling balance? The article said that she had no job too so I’m assuming that she would have been using her retirement savings to pay for the numbers considering her age. Now I think about it a little more, if I had the winning numbers to a lottery I sorely doubt I would sell them to someone. I would just enter into the lottery myself with the numbers. Anyone who is falling for this is obviously stupid enough to think that someone out there will give them millions of dollars for tens of thousands. It’s actually laughable.
Another popular scam at the moment in Japan is the “Hey it’s me! It’s me!” scam, better known as オレオレ詐欺. This scam targets older people who have children that are grown up, don’t live with them anymore and are working(probably even with kids of there own). The scammer calls the parent, and pretends to be the target’s son saying that they’re in big trouble and they quickly need tens of thousands of dollars to get out of it. If the target gets tricked(don’t you people even know what your children’s voice sounds like?) the scammer then directs them to a place where they should go to so they can get the money off them. The scammer then meets the target at the prescribed location and pretends that they are so-and-so’s(the child’s) friends/co-worker and that they came to get the money for him. Then they take the money and run off with it, never to be seen again. I’ve heard they usually target people who live an hour or two away(Nagoya etc.) from Tokyo so they’re close enough to come to Tokyo but so there’s enough time to make them really stressed out about their child’s safety during the train ride.
It’s really unbelievable what some people will fall for. Not just in Japan, but all over the world. Heard of any funny Japanese scams going around at the moment? Have any really gullible friends who would fall for this kind of thing? Leave a comment below and tell me about it.