Damage from fraud in Tokyo reaches record 8 billion yen in 2012
The total amount of money defrauded through bank transfer scams and other types of fraud reached a record of 8.1 billion yen in 2012 in Tokyo, a Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) survey has shown.
So-called cases of "special fraud" -- ranging from bank transfer scams in which perpetrators defraud victims by posing as their relatives in need of emergency funding, to fraud disguised as businesses selling financial instruments or repayment offers -- marked an all-time high since the MPD started keeping the statistics in 2004. The MPD is calling on Tokyoites to be on alert against such swindling tactics.
The MPD attributed the rising fraud damage to a threefold increase in the number of fraud cases involving higher amounts of damage at 10 million yen or more per case, as well as to a sharp increase in the number of victims of fraud disguised as businesses selling financial instruments or repayment offers.
"Many of the victims believe that they would never be defrauded, but once they get calls from perpetrators posing as their relatives, they panic and easily hand them money," said a senior MPD official. "We will also put our efforts into enlightening their children's generations in order to prevent further damage."
According to the MPD, the amount of fraud damage detected in Tokyo reached 8.119 billion yen in 2012, up 72 percent from the previous year. While the number of such special fraud cases stood at 2,274 in 2012 -- around 60 percent of those in 2008 at 3,718, the amount of damage reached well over the 6.1 billion yen in 2006 -- the previous record-high. The number of fraud cases whose damage amounted to 10 million yen or more per case shot up to 204 in 2012 from 77 the previous year.
Particularly on the rise are repayment offer scams, in which fraudsters lead victims to transfer money to bank accounts by falsely telling them that they can receive reimbursement of medical expenses or insurance premiums through such ATM transactions. The number of such scam cases rose sharply to 462 in 2012 from 17 in 2011, with the amount of damage jumping to 471.6 million yen from 14.8 million yen, respectively.
Furthermore, the amount of damage through fraudulent sales of fictitious corporate bonds doubled to 2.2 billion yen in 2012 from the previous year, while the amount of damage through fictitious invoices rose six times to 600 million yen from 2011.
The MPD arrested 644 people on suspicion of involvement in bank transfer scams and other forms of fraud in 2012, up 59 percent from the previous year. Meanwhile, bank employees succeeded in preventing a total of 3.2 billion yen from being defrauded by warning customers against such scams when they visited financial institutions for deposit withdrawals or other purposes -- 2.4 times the amount in the previous year.
February 18, 2013(Mainichi Japan)