The Consumer Affairs Agency is warning citizens to be careful of fraudsters trying to trick them out of money with offers about tickets for the Tokyo Olympics, which aren't actually on sale yet.
On Aug. 2, the agency announced that since August of last year, 34.5 million yen had been scammed out of people this way in three prefectures. Furthermore, the number of requests to the agency for help about these types of scams has surged this year.
The agency warns, "As the Tokyo Olympics approach, the amount of money being scammed from people this way could grow."
In late November last year in the city of Yamagata, a woman in her 80s received phone calls from men claiming to be representatives of an "Olympic foundation" or to be police or lawyers. They asked her, "Did you order six Olympic tickets for 3 million yen?" She denied this but they told her that she was caught up in a fraud scheme involving organized crime and needed to pay money. Through March of this year she sent cash via a parcel delivery service to personal addresses in Tokyo and Saitama Prefecture 18 times, handing over a total of 19.5 million yen.
In Miyazaki and Aomori prefectures, 13 million yen and 2 million yen, respectively, was scammed from people through similar means.
According to the Consumer Affairs Agency, almost all of the people contacting it for help about these kinds of phone calls are women in their 50s or older. From August through December last year there were 10 such requests, but from the beginning of this year through to the end of June there had been 24.