Scammers are active everywhere, including in Japan. A phrase like “ore ore sagi scam” may come up when you travel across the nation and educate yourself on the culture.
When compared to other countries, Japan ranks well for security. There are fewer violent crimes and fewer traffic accidents. But, of course, humans have both honest and dishonest sides. We, humans, are constantly looking for ways to benefit at the expense of others. So even while pickpockets are uncommon in Japan, there are still ways for someone to defraud you or take your money.
Here, therefore, is an introduction to the widespread Japanese fraud known as “ore ore sagi.”
What Is Ore Ore Sagi Scam?
オレオレ詐欺 (Ore Ore Sagi) means “It’s Me, It’s Me, Scam.” Typically, this scam begins with phone conversations, especially with elderly people, claiming, “It’s me!” A common technique is to say, “It’s me!” hoping the victim would guess their name. The next step is to seem like they are a family member in need of a financial transfer, begging you to send them the money. The unknown phone number, location, or bank account number will accompany a fictitious story.
One Aichi, Japan woman in her 60s fell for a scam in which the fraudster pretended to be the woman’s son over the phone, saying he had damaged a company-owned expensive car, and now he needed compensation to make repairs. Then he convinced her to transfer almost 5 million yen to an account in April 2007.
Example Of Phone Conversation
Scammer: “オレ！ ちょっと事故ってしまったから コンビニで相手の人にお金振り込んでくれへん？” (chotto jikotte shimattakara konbini de aitenohitoni okane furikonde kurehen?) – It’s me! I just had an accident. Could you go to the convenience store and transfer the money to the other person’s account?”
Useful Japanese Vocabulary
- 事故 (jiko) – Accident
- お金 (okane) – Money
- 振り込む (furikomu) – Bank deposit transfer
- コンビニ (konbini) – Convinience store
How Does Japan Solve This Problem?
The suspected operator of a major “Ore Ore Sagi ” remittance fraud was sentenced to 20 years in prison by the Tokyo District Court for breaking the legislation against organized crime.
Assistance From The Private Company
Nippon Telegraph and Telephone East Corp (NTT). It’s a Japanese telecom corporation. The NTT Group is the largest firm in Japan and the World’s most valuable company.
NTT East has developed a service that uses AI (or artificial intelligence) to analyze phone conversations and sends out immediate alerts through phone and email to anyone who could have received suspicious calls. NTT East aims to stop the case before the process goes further.
Still, Cases And Financial Loses Are Increasing
Although this scam has been around for a long time (at least since 2009), the increasing ingenuity and complexity of the methods used make it difficult to tell sincerity from fraud.
Scams that play on people’s worries about their loved ones continue to flourish despite widespread public awareness campaigns and police attempts to stop them. Surprisingly, even though the service has identified suspicious calls, people still lose money over the phone.
That’s according to data from the National Police Agency. The great majority of scam victims are women over the age of 65. Almost 300 victims surveyed in an interview were aware of telephone scams, and over 60% claimed they were confident such frauds could not persuade them.
90% of people polled stated they fell for the scam because the phone caller sounded like their son or grandchild. Many reported being startled, intent on assisting the family member, and feeling rushed to make a decision, all of which seemed to cloud their judgment. The vast majority of transactions included the exchange of hard cash or bank transfer.
One main reason is contemporary Japanese families are not known for their closeness to one another, in contrast to their Western counterparts. Family is still family; however, they probably don’t spend much time with each other. As far as we know, this isn’t a phenomenon limited to the young or adolescent population. In many households, reaching out to others is made only when assistance is required. One of the main reasons this scam is so easy to pull off is the pervasive culture of not talking to one another.
You can see that, although Japan is among the safest countries in the world, there are still scammers out there who will try to deceive you into giving them your money. If you plan to stay in Japan for an extended period, you should be aware of this. Since there’s always a potential, you’ll get suspicious calls from fraudsters. Whether or not they are planning a new similar scenario targeting people of all ages is still being determined.
And if you’re interested in expanding your Japanese language beyond just the basics of avoiding scams in Japan, we know just the place to look!
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