TOKUSHIMA – Police have arrested two men on suspicion of swindling two Tokushima Prefecture women out of a total of 4.4 million yen by posing as acquaintances, the police said Saturday.
The police also suspect the two have been involved in several hundred similar cases in other parts of the country, and that the swindle may have earned them hundreds of millions of yen.
The scam has been dubbed the “Ore, ore” (“It’s me, me”) swindle by the media and involves perpetrators making random phone calls, starting the conversation by saying “It’s me!” and pretending to be a young relative before asking for a favor or money to pay off a bill or fine. This and other forms of fraud have been increasing throughout Japan in recent months.
The two men under arrest on suspicion of fraud and theft charges were named as Susumu Nishikawa, 35, from the city of Kyoto, and Isao Yasuzawa, 46, from Nara Prefecture. Both claim to be self-employed.
According to investigators, the two conspired around early June to phone a woman in the city of Tokushima. One man posed as an acquaintance and asked her to have dinner with a doctor.
The other man, posing as the doctor, met the woman at a restaurant in the city and offered her a deal that would earn her 300,000 yen a month.
The pair then allegedly obtained a bank card from the woman and used it to withdraw ¥4 million from an automated teller machine in Osaka, according to the police.
Around mid-June last year, the two also defrauded a different woman from Tokushima Prefecture out of 400,000 yen with a similar scam, the police said.