SAITAMA (TR) – Police arrested seven men on Monday in connection with a credit fraud ring behind job sites they set up promising women easy money by chatting online with men.
Chiba Prefectural Police arrested seven men in their 20s-30s on fraud charges for their suspected involvement in soliciting women to become a “mail lady,” who purportedly earn money by chatting with men online, on job sites and using nominal fees like membership charges to drain money from prepaid electronic money-type cards, the Asahi Shimbun reports (June 1).
Six of the seven suspects have denied the charges, police said.
Based in Tokorozawa City, Saitama Prefecture, authorities said unemployed suspect Yutaka Nakamura, 30, and his associates launched 16 part-time job sites like “Biz” between April 2014 and January this year to con 1.7 billion yen from women across Japan.
The seven suspects allegedly swindled some 540,000 yen out of a 31-year-old Tokyo woman, who signed up on Biz in January to become a mail lady, by repeatedly billing her charges like membership fees so she could become eligible to receive rewards.
The men reportedly tricked the victim into thinking the job was real by sending her messages pretending to be a wealthy male customer.
Numerous blogs and forums have been warning visitors about scams advertised as part-time jobs on sites like Biz.
One post on a site claimed they were told a client wired 900,000 yen into their account, but that the money would be nullified unless they paid 3,000 yen to upgrade their membership status to “life partner.” They were then asked for 20,000 yen as a “withdrawal fee.”
Another user on the same site claimed they were promised 300,000 yen a month with a 900,000-yen reward to be paid in advance if they paid 3,000 yen to upgrade to “life partner” status.
Victims have reported receiving calls from Chiba police inquiring about their experiences.
‘A casual telecommuting job’
A web search for “mail lady” in Japanese yielded over 500,000 results. Some web sites flag them as scams but most appear to endorse the phenomenon as easy money, particularly for housewives.
One site defines working as a mail lady as a “a casual telecommuting job for women who can earn money by exchanging mail with men on their smartphone or cellphone,” claiming that prospective candidates only need to have a bank account and a cellular device.
According to the site, working as a mail lady is a “safer way to earn money” compared to dating web sites.