Kimono Flea Market ICHIROYA's News Letter No575

Do you have experience of getting conned before?  This is most dispicable but elderly people often become a target of con man.

The most popular kind of fraud is in Japan is `Ore ore sagi' (“It’s me” fraudsters). The fraud involving phone calls pretending distress.

It is very popular method but still there are many people who lose money by this fraud.

They make a phone call to elderly people saying, `It's me! It's me!' with the voice suffereing distress. They call and if  the  woman who got the phone call thought it was from her son or grandson, she goes `Oh, is that you, Ichiro?' Then the man says, `Yes, this is Ichiro. How are you, mom?' and then he goes, `I am really sorry but I am in trouble now....'

The trouble are like these: 

`I caused a big car accident and they are threatening me, they won't let me go without paying money'

`I made a big mistake and caused a lot of loss to my company, I need to pay some amount of money now'

`My girlfriend was a mistress of  Yakuza(gang), I did not know that. They are threatening me...thye may kill me...'

They say they are in need of money desperately...and ask their `mother' to transfer money to his bank account.

This Ore ore fraud usually made elderly people go to bank and transfer money to their account. Many elderly women(or men) became victims. It is really a heinous fraud-they trample upon the love and trust of elderly people towards their loved ones.

When the Ore ore fraud became so popular, banks tried to avoid by placing posters and signs, warning about this fraud and recommending to check the account you are going to transfer money.

Some fraud were stopped by bank officers. They tried to watch people-especially when elderly people look upset or being in a big hurry.  Sometimes con men guided elderly people how to transfer money on the phone, so bank officers watch those elderly people very carefully. They approached and offered them help. They talked to these people to calm them down and warned them about this type of fraud.

By these officers of observation, many fraud were prevented.

However, you know con men never give up-they have other method, They (the false `son' or `grandson')say, they send their friend(or secretary) to them. The poor mother or grandmother hand them money. 

Those people who go to elderly people's house to receive money are called `Ukeko'(receivers). They are hired just to carry money. There was a case the receiver was 16 years old girl. She was told she could have fifty thousand yen(approx US $500) just by visiting elderly woman's house(dressed in suit, pretending she was a secretary or officer), receiving money and carrying to the con man. 

She said she did not know what she was doing. These ukeko were very convenient for the con men to get money. 

There is even newer method-they ask elderly people to send money by courier(takkyubin). Japanese takkyubin have excellent service-they deliver at certain time---you can choose delivery time such as from 2:00 P.M. to 4:00P.M of a certain date and so on and they deliver during that time you chose. The con men can disappear after receiving the money in the parcel.

You may be surprised and wonder why elderly people get conned so easily by this method. You may think it is strange why they believe it is their son or grandson on the phone. 

The con men act so clevely and tactfully.  If the woman on the phone has doubt, they say `Oh I have an allergy' and so on. Sometimes they say, `I changed my cell phone number, I tell you that now, so take a memo and call me' and so on. They sometimes collect information by stealing letters from their mailbox and succeed to pretend they are relatives. Most of all, they cheat by taking advantage of elderly people's weakness-their love towards their son or grandson by acting they are really in trouble and they need their help. It is really unforgivable act. 

Of course not ALL elderly people get conned. In many cases, after the Ore ore fraud became famous, people get rid of those con phone calls, sometimes by witty reply.

Ichiro's father got such fraud call the other day, but he is hard of hearing and very patient, so he kept asking, `what is it? What happened? What did you say?' repeatedly and the guy gave up and hung up.

It is interesting, three prefectures - which are most less victims of Ore ore fraud- are Osaka, Shimane and Kagoshima. They say, people from Shimane are very careful. Kagoshima has strong dialect which is hard to imitate.

People in Osaka-they are said to be very strict about money-they do not want to use money unless there are very clear reasons. They ask the details so persistently and the con man has to give up-it might be true.

There must be the same kind of fraud everywhere in the world.

Japan is becoming an aging society so rapidly-con men will use many different methods- everyone should become like people from Osaka.