I believed the woman’s words of love. ……
He is a single man in his 60s who runs a farm in Shikoku. A single man in his 60s who is a farmer in Shikoku, Japan, is the victim of an organized “international romance scam” in which he was cheated out of 23 million yen.
This is a new type of scam in which overseas scammers try to win the affection of people they meet through social networking sites and make them transfer money to them. This is the first time I’ve seen such a scam.
After the Covid-19 disaster, I have received several consultations about damage in the hundreds of millions. In the past, I had the impression that most of the victims were women, but nowadays, middle-aged men are increasingly being targeted.
The usual method of scammers is to disguise their identity as military personnel or doctors, but recently new methods have emerged. The man at the beginning of this article recalls.
In mid-May, I met a woman on a matching site called Yahoo! She called herself Minako, a Japanese woman in her 30s who grew up in Singapore and runs an apparel company. Her Japanese in chatting and talking was unnatural, but I thought that’s how it is when you grow up overseas.
The man began to develop special feelings for Minako as they continued their casual exchanges, and about a month after their encounter, he sent her a message saying, “From today on, I will truly love all of you. However, Minako replied, “You can only do what you want when you earn enough wealth,” and offered a proposal.
She invited us to open a joint forex account together, a ‘love account,’ and deposit money into it to fund our future together. It would be profitable and deepen our love for each other at the same time. He then introduced me to a person named Rudy on line, who he said was a “service manager” for his overseas FX trading company. I followed Rudy’s instructions and submitted my ID and other documents, and my account was opened immediately.
Two weeks after the account was opened, the man sent 1.2 million yen to the account designated by Rudy. Two weeks after the account was opened, the man wired 1.2 million yen to the account designated by Rudy, but the name on the account was “Nguyen Van Phuoc,” a Vietnamese name.
I thought it was strange, but I was convinced when he explained to me that he was using his staff’s personal account because international remittances take a long time to be reflected. Minako also sent me the history of the transfer of 12 million yen to the same love account, so I believed her. And most importantly, we had vowed to get married.
Furthermore, the man continued to add funds to his love account on multiple occasions. After that, the man added funds to his love account several times, transferring a total of 17 million yen.
The balance in the love account grew in a double-digit game. About a month after the deposit, the balance reached nearly 300 million yen, so we discussed it and decided to withdraw the entire amount.
The man would have envisioned a life of love with Minako. But …….
I was told by Rudy that I would have to pay an additional tax of about 20% to withdraw the money. I had deposited most of my assets in my love account, so I borrowed money and deposited an additional 6 million yen, but they gave me various reasons and finally told me that my account was frozen. This is when I finally realized that I had been cheated.
Minako and Rudy were in cahoots, and the FX trading account they opened was also a dummy. Minako and Rudy were in cahoots, and the FX trading account I opened was a dummy, and the money transfer history she sent me was also fake.
A spokesperson for Yahoo! Partner, the company that operates the service, said, “We would like to refrain from commenting on this matter as we are still confirming the facts, but if it is true, we regret it. We have a customer care staff working 24 hours a day, 365 days a year to support our customers, and those who violate our guidelines are terminated.
We have a customer care staff working 24 hours a day, 365 days a year to support our customers.
If the perpetrator group is based overseas, it would be difficult to request disclosure of their IP address. The accounts that the criminals deposited money into were often resold by foreigners, mainly Vietnamese, before they returned to their home countries, making it impossible to trace them. If you have made a deposit, please report it to the police immediately. If the account is frozen according to the Act on Relief from Bank Transfer Scams, there is a possibility that a damage recovery distribution will be paid from the balance.
Romance doesn’t happen that easily.
From the December 10, 2021 issue of FRIDAY
Interviewed and written by： Yuuki Okukubo
PHOTO： From the website of "Stop! International Romance Scam" website (1st to 4th pictures)