Japanese Police Use Fake Gift Cards To Battle Support Scammers

Japanese Police Use Fake Gift Cards To Battle Support Scammers

Tyler Cross


Tyler Cross

Published on: May 1, 2024

Japanese police are faking fake gift cards in various convenience stores around the Fukui prefecture to help find and stop scammers.

The Echizen Police are deploying these dummy cards to counter two of the most common online scams. The first is fake antivirus companies that charge for virus removal and the second is delinquent charge scams. The ladder typically sees criminals pretend to have given the victim too much money for a refund and demand the victim send them the money back.

In both cases, hackers will instruct the victim to use a gift card so the transaction can’t be reversed or easily tracked. The cards are aimed at protecting the elderly, who are the most common victims of gift card scams.

The cards come in two varieties, “virus trojan horse removal cost payment card” and “unpaid fee delinquent fee payment card.” Police deployed them in 34 different convenience stores around the prefecture.

The hope is that a confused victim being sent to get gift cards will see the advertised card as well as the card that the scammers initially told them to get. After noticing both, they’ll ask an employee for assistance in figuring out which they can get, at which point the store’s employee can inform them of the scam.

According to the Fukushimbum Online, a local news website, two fraud cases were immediately detected and prevented after police deployed these dummy cards.

“As early as November 27, damage was prevented at the Lawson Takeo Hinomi store. On December 11, it was also prevented at the Lawson Echizen Myohojimachi store. The victims, both elderly men, were charged for the cost of removing the virus infection from their computers,” Fukushimbum Online reported.

The two employees who helped the victims received awards from the police on February 1.

“It’s difficult to talk to people if they’re just asking for a purchase, but it’s easier to guide them with a dummy card,” explained one of the award recipients.

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