Japanese police will pay about $100 to seniors who help con con artists.
The “ore ore scam” is one of the oldest cons in Japan, and it starts when a crook calls a senior citizen on the phone and says “Ore da,” or “It’s me.” The plan is that the target will mistake the scammer for a son or grandson, and should they ask “Who is this?”, the scammer will employ guilt tactics, saying, “What? It’s me! You recognize my voice, don’t you?”
The next step is for the scammer to tell the target that he needs money, and fast….
On May 1, the Minami Precinct of the Aichi Prefectural Police, which serves and protects the city of Nagoya’s Minami Ward, launched a new aspect of Operation Pretend to Be Fooled. This new crime-fighting program asks people who’ve been contacted by someone claiming to be a loved one in need of cash to notify the police, then work with them to draw the scammer out. For each case in which their cooperation leads to the identification of scammers, the original target of the scam will be paid 10,000 yen (US$97).
My uncle got hit with a scam like this. This wasn’t in Japan, but in Queens, NY. The scammer called him and said, “it’s your favorite nephew.” My uncle said, “Hi, Mitchell!” because “it’s your favorite nephew” is how I greeted him.
My uncle, who was in his 90s, was a retired NY cop, and still sharp as a tack. He played the scammer along a while until the scammer realized my uncle knew what was going on, and hung up.