Telephone scams have been all the rage over the past few years, but local police have reported a spate of attempts in rural Hiroshima in recent days. What appears to be one organized group of con merchants have come up with a new, if not particularly imaginative, twist on the phone scam.
Callers pretending to be police officers have been calling people and “reporting” that bank account book with their names on have be discovered following the arrest of a crime group member. The caller then proceeds to ask for the would be victim’s bank account number and ATM PIN number, saying that they are necessary to take steps to protect the money deposited in the bank account. Chugoku Shinbum reported on October 24 that as of 5pm on October 23 18 cases in Miyoshi, Aki-takata and Jinseki Kougen had been reported, with a further 33 the previous day in Fukuyama and Sera.
The targets are mostly elderly residents and the calls from the “police officers” are followed up by a call from someone claiming to be a bank official and, in some cases, the con artists propose paying a visit to the peoples’ homes.
It has been announced whether the the scammers succeeded in getting any money, but people in Okayama prefecture, where police report that in 5 cases, scammers had conned a total of 23 million yen from victims.
Police would like to make it clear that an officer would never ask for such information over the telephone.