Monetary harm from “furikome” phone fraud involving bank transfers increased 27.1 percent in 2012 to ¥16.16 billion, up for the third straight year, the National Policy Agency said Thursday.
The monthly total surpassed ¥2 billion in October and December, approaching the peak levels seen between 2004 and 2008, when annual damage of more than ¥25 billion was reported.
While the number of reported cases in 2012 grew only 2.7 percent to 6,401, the average amount of damage surged 27.7 percent to ¥2.72 million.
An increasing number of grifters chose to receive cash directly from victims instead of using bank transfers, which have limits on transaction amounts, an NPA official said.
Most victims were 70 or older, and those aged 60 or older accounted for 80 percent of the total. The victims included three times as many women as men.
The police agency also said damage from fraud involving financial product transactions totaled some ¥20.1 billion, up 2.6-fold year on year.
In notable cases, victims were defrauded of money on the pretext of investment in unlisted stocks or with the fake prospect of recovering past losses from other scams.
The most common furikome tactic is for someone to phone a senior and use familiar language such as would be used by a relative or an acquaintance of kin, and ask for cash to get out of a jam or to get a loved one out of trouble.
62 cops axed in 2012
Sixty-two police officers were fired in 2012 for misconduct, a rise of 17 from the previous year and the highest number on record, the National Police Agency said Thursday.
The number of police officers reprimanded or more severely punished came to 458, rising by 91 from 2011 and exceeding 400 for the first time in eight years.
Among them, the number of police officers who were arrested rose by 27 to a record 93 and those who were suspended increased by 45 to 128, also a record high, the agency said.
Some 139 cops were punished for indecent assault, molestation, sexual harassment or other sex offenses, 61 for falsifying evidence or forging documents and 55 for theft, fraud or embezzlement.