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The National Police Agency has instructed prefectural police nationwide to be on the alert for cases of earthquake-related fraud after several attempts to wring money from people were reported in the last couple of days.

In Niigata Prefecture, which has been hit by a series of powerful quakes, a man in his 60s in the city of Mitsuke received a call Friday from a person who tried to swindle him out of 1 million yen.

The caller, who identified himself as an officer in the Self-Defense Forces, said it was to cover the cost of sending a helicopter to rescue the man’s son from a landslide.

The man subsequently called the local fire department, which told him there had been no landslide.

The same day, another Mitsuke resident received a similar call. The woman, also in her 60s, called her son and concluded the man on the phone had been lying.

In Aomori Prefecture, a woman pretending to be a Japan Red Cross Society worker visited a 70-year-old man Thursday to solicit a donation for quake victims in Niigata Prefecture, the society said.

The society said it never visits individual houses and asks that all donations be remitted to a designated postal saving account.

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