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Scams / Frauds / Pernicious Business

Japan With Kids - Forums: General Discussions: Scams / Frauds / Pernicious Business
By Letitia Verschoore on Tuesday, June 7, 2005 - 3:29 am:

Does anyone had used credit cheque before? Is it like bank draft or bank cash cheque?

Here is my case - a buyer want to buy the boots which I posted at Tokyo With kids Forums fews months ago. The persons said will have a forwader to come and pick up the boots and also gave me a credit cheque (amount including my payment & forwarder charge). The buyer requested after I've received my payment, I need to help her to transfer the balance to the forwarder company.

I'd like to see if anyone has same experience. I believe most or almost all forwader company required advance payment or COD, isn't it?

Anyone can comment?

By Jane Hirons on Tuesday, June 7, 2005 - 7:47 am:

I think this is a scam. Last week, we received computer-generated messages to purchase several things that we had posted on the site, asking if payment by certified cheque was OK. One of the e-mails was generated badly, and was asking to buy me! I would discontinue discussions with this person.

Note: June 2005 Goodbye Japan!

By Bethan Hutton on Tuesday, June 7, 2005 - 10:18 am:

Yes, I had one of those too - I just ignored it, as I've heard about these scams before. What apparently usually happens is that they send you a cheque for a lot more than the amount you were asking, by "mistake", and then when you point out the mistake, they ask you to return the extra to them, and of course you do this then discover that the cheque they sent you doesn't clear, so you have lost however much you sent them. Stay well away.

By Admin on Tuesday, June 7, 2005 - 5:59 pm:

To add my own two cents: get a phone number. Call it (if it is in Japan). Do this in any case before buying or selling anything here. It's a good way to check legitimacy. And of course since when does anyone use checks of any kind here in Japan, particularly for small sums?

Another "scam": There has a been a young sounding man calling to say he wants to buy something, and then continuing with how he is lonely and wants friendship. His calls are characterized by the very late or very early hours at which he calls. He's doing it to people with ads listed in both the Metropolis and in the Tokyo Notice Board, and possibly other places as well (that no one has reported to me). I have also been called by this person. When I hang up on him, he calls right back. He has also sent emails asking to be called back at a mobile phone number. I have had to take the phone off the hook in order to be able to get back to sleep. I've been called by him perhaps on 4 different ads in the last year. Since I now recognize his voice I can hang up immediately ;-)

By Letitia Verschoore on Tuesday, June 7, 2005 - 10:05 pm:

Bethan, Jane and Tokyo With Kids Adm, many thanks to your valuable advise.

By Mono on Monday, June 13, 2005 - 10:38 am:

MSNBC posted an article about various scams today, and it mentions the "check scam" Bethan talked about. I thought this article might benefit those who are not familiar with e-scams:

By Mono on Monday, June 13, 2005 - 1:05 pm:

Speaking of scams, there's a new type of, or at least new in my area, fraud going around.

Some might have heard of a man who was recently arrested for hiring people to collect contributions on the streets for bogus charities. This man supposedly made thousands of dollars or half a million yens a day. I'm sure everyone has heard of the heinous door-to-door salespeople selling pretty much anything from fire extinguishers to water purifiers. Yep, I've visited by a man in an official-looking uniform who tried to tell me that I should buy a water purifier because there's something wrong with the water in my neighborhood or whatever, too.

The fraud that's going around here is the mixture of these two types of cons. A person or people from a bogus NPO or a charity comes around during the day when the elderly or the housewives are alone at home. These people claim to be collecting funds for, say, their welfare organization, and ask you to purchase a set of hand towels or handkerchiefs for several thousand yens. A similar scam is going around in Nagano where a pair of Southeast Asian women targeting the elderly. They'd say things like "we're from XX to raise money for their NPO in their home country to help the battered women, street children, or poor children." I've heard that those 2 women could be from a crime organization. I happened to know a bit about the fraud in Nagano because an elderly lady who lives across the street from my family fell for it. This woman's daughter heard about this scam in town, and hurried back home to warn her mother about it. However, before she could do so, her mother showered her a set of lace handkerchiefs and told her about the "admirable foreign women who came all the way to Japan to help the others back home."

The scams in Ibaraki that I've heard of were done by Japanese, but both scams are basically doing the same thing: selling very cheap-looking towels or handkerchiefs for outrageous amount of money. I'm sorry this message got long, but I hope it'll be beneficial to some of the JWK reader's Japanese in-laws!

By Bethan Hutton on Monday, June 13, 2005 - 1:58 pm:

Unfortunately Japan is not a crime-free country, but the general feeling that it is "safe" and people's reluctance to cause offence, as well as the habit of keeping large amounts of cash around, means that it is an ideal place for con artists. As foreigners, we are probably less likely to be targeted by most of the fraudsters (their main targets are slightly confused elderly Japanese living alone) but some of the more plausible ones will try anyone and anything.

For example, a few months back I had several rings on my doorbell in the same day from a couple of guys in vaguely "uniformish" type clothing, one of whom showed me an "ID" card, and explained that someone in the area had been complaining about a strange smell from the drains so they were checking everyone's drain covers. I hadn't noticed any strange smells, and besides which I had no idea where our drain covers were, so each time I just sent them away. But talking to one of my neighbours the next day she told me that what they had been trying to do was find someone gullible, claim that their drains were the problem, and then charge them an exorbitant amount for "cleaning" it. I don't know if anyone fell for it in my area, but in the end one of the neighbours said she was calling the police, and they cleared off. I have also heard of similar scams with people pretending to be checking your gas, electricity etc for leaks or faults. Sometimes they try to charge you for fixing a "fault", sometimes they just use it as a way to get into your home to steal.

So be wary of anyone calling unannounced at your door. I think that the gas and electricity companies usually send out advance notices if they are planning to inspect anything inside your property. If in doubt, look up the number for whichever utility it is (don't use a number the person at the door gives you) and call and check on them. If they're genuine, they won't get huffy about it.

Oh and another email one: I've had several emails in the past year or so claiming to be from Citibank, Ebay and other big companies, saying things like "we have detected attempts at unauthorised access to your account" or that due to new security measures, my account will be suspended until I update account details etc, and giving a link to a web page where you are meant to update details, change passwords etc.

These are all scams known as "phishing" - the sites look genuine, but if you check (I've forgotten how to do this - there is a way of using your browser to work out exactly where a site is located) they have been set up by fraudsters to fish for account information which can then be used fraudulently. Often they give themselves away by faulty English, but some are very professional. Citibank and Ebay are two of the main companies whose names are used (I've heard that there are plenty of others, though), just because lots of people have accounts with them, so if fraudsters send off emails at random, there's a fair chance that some of the recipients will think they are genuine customer-service emails. But if you check with Citibank, Ebay etc they will confirm that they never ask for this kind of information by email or over the phone.

The best advice is to be constantly wary of anything that lands in your email inbox.

By Admin on Monday, June 13, 2005 - 4:39 pm:

Dear Letitia and et. al.,
I received an email today in response to one of my adverts (at with the same basic outline of wanting to send me a check. Speak of the devil!

I'm quite used to all the deceased family heads (often with no survivors) with "funds being held up in banks" type of junk emails, but this one is new to me! Someone actually took the time to type in my name and a few sentances that were not just a form letter.

So, I have renamed this topic with the title suggested under "Suggest a New Topic" and combined the two discussions at this link. It is a very pertinent topic!

By Nancy on Tuesday, June 14, 2005 - 9:10 pm:


I had the "drain guy" show up at my house too, a number of years ago. My best approach to all these "suspicious callers" is never speak a word of Japanese. That usually scares them off :-) Of course having a dog with a mean bark is also very helpful.

By Admin on Saturday, October 22, 2005 - 8:46 am:

I have just read an LA times article (through yahoo) which pretty much details how the internet scams (originating in Nigeria) work. And I have a copy of it if anyone want me to forward it.

'I Will Eat Your Dollars'
By Robyn Dixon, Times Staff Writer
FESTAC, Nigeria

By Guilleruizbernal on Tuesday, October 9, 2007 - 3:44 am:

In this page announces a company that actually does not exist. It calls "laptopconnectionltd" and offers telephones, video games and products of high range to low prices. A person who calls " ken lampard " fills the mail of messages to become convinced of that you pay in advance for western union. When you pay you do not receive anything and lose your money.
Please, tell it to your clients.

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