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Shinjuku City Official Website > Foreign Language Top Page > Employment and Status of Residence > Beware—A Surge in Scams and Fraud

Beware—A Surge in Scams and Fraud

One hundred and thirty cases of scams and fraud occurred in Shinjuku City during FY2017, an increase of fifty-five compared to the previous year. Total damages amounted to some 290 million yen—about 89 million yen higher than the previous year. Around 80 percent of all victims are female, and those 60 to 80 years of age represent about 89 percent of the total.

The culprits often convince victims with plausible lies by phone. Do not be fooled. Here’s how to detect some typical scams and frauds such as those in the situations below:

“Ore Ore (It’s me, it’s me)” scam scenario #1

Trap 1: You receive a phone call from someone claiming to be your son or grandson, who says: “It’s me. It’s me. I changed my phone number,” or something similar.
⇒ Do not mention your son’s or grandson’s actual name, since the culprit might use this information to reinforce the lie.

Trap 2: You receive a phone call from someone claiming to be your son or grandson, who says: “I’ve left my checkbook in a bag on the train” or “I’ve embezzled company money.”
⇒ Remain calm and call your son or grandson at his actual number to confirm the situation.

Trap 3: You receive a phone call from someone claiming to be your son or grandson, who says: “I’ve been fired from my job, and I’m in dire need of money. I’ll send someone to the house to pick it up.”
⇒ This lie preys on the parent’s/family’s sympathy for a family member in trouble. Please discuss the matter with your family, the police or someone at the city office. If you do provide the funds requested, you won’t get the money back.

“Ore Ore (It’s me, it’s me)” scam scenario #2

Trap 1: You receive a phone call from someone claiming that they’re with the police or from a major department store, who says: “We’ve discovered that your credit card has been used illegally. Please tell us your secret code so that we can halt all payments on the card.”
⇒ Do not reveal your secret code under any circumstances. Instead, be sure to get the person’s name and department name, then call the organization’s official number and check whether the department or the person in charge exists.

Trap 2: You receive a phone call from someone claiming to be part of the Japanese Bankers Association, who tells you: “You need to renew your bank card.”
⇒ There is no need for replacement. Please discuss the matter with your family, the police or someone at the city office. If you tell the caller your secret code and hand your bankcard to that person, that person will no doubt empty your bank account.

Fraud involving alleged refunds

Trap 1: You receive a phone call from someone claiming to be a city employee or social insurance agency staff member, who says: “We have a refund for you on your taxes/pension/medical expenses.”
⇒ This lie preys on your excitement about receiving a refund. Be sure to get the person’s name and department name, then call the organization’s official number and check whether the department or the person exists.

Trap 2: You receive a phone call from someone claiming to be part of the Japanese Bankers Association, who tells you: “Please go to an ATM, and bring your mobile phone.”
⇒ Do not go to an ATM. You cannot receive a refund via an ATM. Please discuss the matter with your family, the police or someone at the city office.

Fraud involving fictitious claims

Trap 1: You receive an email, letter or postcard that says: “Payment is due for your online membership. If no payment is received, legal action will be taken against you. Please contact us at once.”
⇒ Do not make contact, and delete or dispose of all correspondence from the sender.

Trap 2: You receive a phone call and are told: “Please purchase a gift card at a convenience store (or similar place) and then tell me the serial number.”
⇒ Do not purchase any gift card. Please discuss the matter with your family, the police or someone at the city office.

To avoid becoming a victim, it is essential that you avoid taking a suspicious person’s phone calls.

Here are some measures to protect yourself:
〇 Always ensure that your home phone has an answering machine function
〇 It is advisable to have a home phone equipped with a function to prevent unwanted calls such as a recording function

Whenever money is the topic of discussion during a phone call, please consult with your family, the police or someone at the city office.

Inquiries Security Affairs Section, Security Affairs Department (Shinjuku City Office Main Building 4F), Tel: 03-5273-3532
Ushigome Police Station, Tel: 03-3269-0110
Shinjuku Police Station, Tel: 03-3346-0110
Totsuka Police Station, Tel: 03-3207-0110
Yotsuya Police Station, Tel: 03-3357-0110

May 5, 2018