Fraud losses in 2015 decline for first time in six years


Losses caused by confirmed fraud cases in Japan fell 15.7 percent to ¥47.7 billion in 2015, declining for the first time in six years, the National Police Agency said Thursday.

The losses in so-called special fraud cases, such as swindling people by impersonating their family members over the phone and asking for money transfers, declined after the number of arrests and other law enforcement actions went up 26.5 percent to 4,114 during the year.

The average loss per victim was ¥3.7 million, declining 17.8 percent from the previous year.

Police launched a crackdown on fraud after losses from money scams reached a record high in 2014. Police began tracking figures in 2004.

Police particularly stepped up efforts to crack down on swindlers who trick people into sending cash by mail. The amount of money swindled in such scams fell 32.1 percent, they said.

But the total number of money scams reported to police rose 3.3 percent to 13,828. Swindlers have begun to employ new tricks involving prepaid electronic money cards.

A total of 852 prepaid card frauds were reported to police in 2015, jumping from 132 the previous year.