Swindlers are everywhere, even in the safest country in the world. The number of cases in Japan of the so-called ‘ore ore scam’ (おれおれ= It’s me) or furikome sagi (振り込め詐欺 = money transfer scam) are not dropping.
Phone fraud is a problem in many developed countries, but with a target-rich environment like Japan, it is easy to fight against this crime.
The swindlers proceed like this: usually targeting an elderly person, calling and introducing themselves as “It’s me”, tricking the victim into believing it is a close relative, like a son. Victims, who suffer from dementia or Alzheimer are the easiest target. They are then told, that the close relative is in financial trouble and are asked to help as soon as possible with an imminent money bank transfer. Good-hearted many victims want to help out and often pay even on the same day. Needless to say, that those ‘fake’ sons were never in trouble.
It goes so far, that most banks have posters installed, warning people of this. Some banks have even taken the measure to set an additional question at ATM when transferring money, inquiring the customer if they were asked to transfer money for someone ‘in need’. If you press ’No’, you are able to proceed with your regular money transfer.
Swindlers would do anything to trick their victim. They often start with 「俺だよ、オレオレ」ore da yo, ore ore (It’s me!)「わたし、わたし」watashi, watashi (=(It’s) me, me)「お母さん……」okaasan…. (=mother)「久しぶりだけど、覚えてるかな?」ohisashiburi dakedo, oboeteru kana? (=Long time no see, do you still remember?) and then after a bit of small talk they say that due to a traffic accident or medical accident, they urgently need money to ‘settle things outside the court’. People are easily alarmed by words like ‘accident’ and ‘court’ so they naturally feel the urge to help. Additionally, many victims are lonely and happy when someone (especially if they believe it is their relative) calls them. Though a lot of efforts is done already, much more is needed to decrease the number of phone fraud and Japanese need to be aware of that scam more widely.