TOKYO (TR) – The number of fraud cases known as tokushu sagi, or special fraud, declined nationwide for the fifth straight year in 2019, the National Police Agency said last month, reports the Nikkei Shimbun (Feb. 20).
Last year, the number of such cases, whereby victims being targeted over the telephone, totaled 18,836, a decline of 5.6 percent over the year before.
The amount lost in those cases totaled 30.15 billion yen, a decline of 21.3 percent, the NPA said.
“Since the total exceeds 30 billion yen, it is still a serious state of affairs,” an NPA representative said.
The most cases took place in Tokyo (3,816). The prefectures of Kanagawa (2,793), Osaka (1,807), Saitama (1,459) and Chiba (1,409) rounded out the top five.
The most common type of fraud goes by the name ore ore sagi, (“it’s me” fraud), whereby fraudsters pose on the telephone as relatives of victims in distress. Last year, there were 6,697 cases, a decline by 26.8 percent over the year before.
While the number of cases was down, arrests reached a record high of 2,911, an increase of 2.6 percent over the year before.
In many cases, the fraud rings operated out of apartments. However, other rings used vehicles and karaoke parlors, the NPA said.