–New title: Beware! Japanese Police Use Fake Cards to Educate Victims of Support Scams

    Elderly couple with tablet using mobile banking
    Image: Unsplash

    Placeholder Headline: New Tactics to Protect Elderly from Online Scams

    In a recent move, Japanese authorities have stepped up measures ‌to combat the increasing risk of online fraud targeting the elderly. With rising cases of ⁢tech support scams ⁣and unpaid money fraud, the ‌Fukui prefecture ⁣police⁤ have implemented a​ unique strategy to protect potential victims.

    The police⁢ department has placed fake ⁣payment cards labeled “Virus Trojan Horse Removal Payment Card” and “Unpaid Bill Late ‌Fee Payment Card” in the electronic ⁤money ‍sections of 34 local convenience stores. This serves ⁣as an alert mechanism to warn older individuals who may fall prey to these scams.

    The decision came after the Fukui prefecture suffered significant financial losses of ⁤around $7.5 million due to various forms of online fraud in the ⁢past year. This trend continued in January of 2024, with 14 reported complaints of investment scams, resulting‍ in an⁣ estimated loss of $700,000.

    By partnering with local convenience stores, the Echizen Police are ‍testing a new ‌approach to tackle the issue.⁣ Store employees have been trained to‍ identify and assist ⁢potential victims who may attempt to purchase these fake cards, potentially saving them from falling for the scams.

    The innovative strategy ‌has gained positive results, with local media outlet Fukuishimbun reporting that two older men⁢ were saved from being scammed since late November ⁣of 2023. The victims were deceived into believing that their computers ⁤were⁣ infected with malware and were tricked into paying a fee for⁤ cleaning the systems.

    According to Yayoi Tanaka, an employee ⁤at​ one of the ⁤convenience stores, the dummy cards have made it easier to explain to people buying them that​ they were ​deceived. As the police department rewards employees who assist in this program, it also helps in ⁤identifying and investigating these fraudulent activities.

    With ⁢the specific messages on ⁤these fake⁤ cards, victims are likely to pick them up, ⁤believing that‌ they are prepaid cards that could help them solve‍ the issue presented by ⁢the scammer. This tactic serves as an effective preventive measure in protecting⁣ the elderly from falling victim to these scams.

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