Scammer Dupes Elderly Japanese Woman out of $748k Worth of Crypto
A Japanese woman in her eighties was duped out of over $748,000 worth of tokens by a crypto scammer who told her that her bank account was under attack.
Kyodo News (via Tokyo Shimbum) reported that the woman was contacted by a “person claiming to be an employee of the ward [local government] offices.”
The news outlet quoted the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department’s Tamagawa station as describing the victim as “a woman in her eighties from Setagaya Ward, Tokyo.”
Officers explained that in mid-November last year, the woman was at home when she received a phone call on her landline.
The caller claimed to be a local government officer and told the woman:
“Your bank account is being used for a crime and your funds are about to be frozen.”
The woman asked the caller what she should do if she wanted to safeguard her funds. The caller, officers continued, then told the woman:
“Let’s get your money out of the account before it’s too late.”
The police explained that the woman then proceeded to follow the caller’s instructions. She used her smartphone to open a wallet on a crypto exchange.
She then used her bank details to buy around 97 million yen (about $748,000) worth of an unnamed token via the same exchange – and created a password for the wallet at the caller’s direction.
It appears that the caller made sure they were aware of this password. Shortly after the call, the crypto the woman had bought had “disappeared” from the wallet.
Rise in Crypto Fraud Targeting Elderly Japanese
Police stated that the incident was “being investigated as a special fraud case.”
Crypto fraud is thought to be on the rise in Japan – with an increasing number of older victims targeted.
Back in 2018, an 84-year-old woman in Ashikaga, Tochigi Prefecture, handed over $9,000 to a voice phishing scammer who claimed that her brother had run into crypto-related debts.
And in 2021, a number of convenience store workers were commended by the police for intervening in crypto-related scams that targeted elderly victims.