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Elderly woman swindled out of ¥14 million in ‘coronavirus’ scam

TOKYO (TR) – Tokyo Metropolitan Police are hunting for the perpetrators who swindled an elderly woman in Arakawa Ward out of more than 14 million yen, reports TBS News (Apr. 28).

On April 23, the woman, aged in her 70s, received a telephone call from someone posing as her son.

“I lost some work-related documents connected to the coronavirus,” the caller claimed in referring to the virus that causes COVID-19. “I will send a man whom you can trust to receive money on my behalf.”

According to the Minamisenju Police Station, a man believed to be in his 30s, on several occasions collected a total of 14.2 million yen in cash from the woman.

The ongoing coronavirus pandemic is being used to swindle multiple persons. Over a roughly one-month period through April 17, police know about 17 cases in which the virus was cited in a scam known as apoden (appointment telephone).

In such cases, the victims are asked about money and valuables on hand over the telephone prior to a home invasion or other crime.