Billing Fraud

Billing fraud is e a huge issue in Japan. I do remember this specific fraud because actually I got a call from someone ten years ago. It was crazy because this man suddenly called me on my cellular phone.

First, I didn’t understand how he got my number and then this man was telling that I owed about 160,000 yen. 

When this man called me, he didn’t even know my name. He was polite, but was trying to draw more information about my name and work. I was in the process of moving back to America so I didn’t really care.

I called the consumer service at a City Hall in my town. The representative told me that it was a typical fraud crime. They set up a shady website and start calling people who accessed the website. (or didn’t even access the website like me). I had no idea what he was talking about or was asking me to pay this ridiculous amount!

But at that point, they usually don’t have information other than your cellular phone number. They try to obtain your work and home address so they can start threatening further. Japanese people are afraid of these fraudsters coming to their work place. They don’t want them to bother their coworkers and it is embarrassing.

Out of shame, they often succumb to threat and by the time, it is too late. Many victims end up wire transferring the money out of fear.

What really surprised me about this crime is that many teenagers are getting involved with this crime thinking they can make quick easy money. Recently, there was a “ore, ore” (It’s me telephone frauds) that target elderly people and three teenagers were behind these scams that ended up extorting approximately 4 million dollars from the victims!

So how did these teenagers manage to extort that much money? They call the victims and the conversation starts with “it’s me!” and they pretend to be a family member. They would say whatever to try to get money. For instance, they say they are in trouble or they pretend to be calling on behalf of a family member.

They ask the victims to transfer money to solve the issue. It is ridiculous how elderly people easily fall for the trick.

Of course, mine was different but there is no way I was going to pay for the owed amount..this man called me twice and I ignored the third phone call. I didn’t give any other information as obtaining personal information is much more difficult in Japan. In the US, it is a matter of paying the service provider some money to get the email address, address and phone number. It isn’t that hard to find where we work and other related information.

Anyways, if you live in Japan, be wary of scam. Never succumb to threat and never wire transfer any money!

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