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Japan Subculture Research Center

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From "Ore Ore" to "Ore wa Yakuza da"–bank scammers adapting to the times


Mar 24, 2010

Scammers are adopting new techniques to swindle unsuspecting victims in bank transaction fraud in Osaka Prefecture, according to this article in Sankei News, claiming to be yakuza in order to get small businesses to deposit large amounts of money into their accounts.

Previously, transaction fraud was done by scammers pretending to be a relative of the victim–usually an elderly person. Known commonly as an  “Ore Ore” scam, a scammer would call the unsuspecting victim, claiming he was a relative and that he needed money deposited into his bank account because he had gotten mixed up in trouble with a yakuza and was being threatened.

But beginning around November of last year, Osaka police began to receive reports of a different type of scam, from local businesses instead of the typical elderly victim. Callers now directly threaten victims with claims of being yakuza, demanding deposits into their bank accounts from companies ranging from construction companies to foods wholesalers. The article reports that one company received a call demanding a deposit of ¥70,000 for dry cleaning charges–because a company vehicle had run over a can of juice and splashed the “yakuza” member’s suit.

All those affected drive vehicles with their company names and phone numbers printed on the car or truck, and many have reported feelings of being tailed by suspicious vehicles. Police believe the group of scammers may be prowling around looking for potential victims.

The number of bank transaction fraud cases fall drastically last year, and authorities believe that scammers have changed their techniques because traditional “Ore Ore” scams have become less effective. According to a survey of local citizens by the Osaka Prefecture organized crime elemination center, 63.4% of respondents found organized crime groups “somewhat scary” to “extremely frightening.”

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