Revelations earlier this month that a beauty salon scammed hundreds of women met on social-networking site Mixi has Shukan Jitsuwa (June 27) convinced that the alleged crimes represent the type of the iceberg when it comes to frauds pulled on females.
On June 6, Tokyo Metropolitan Police took the manager of Francesca Bianchi Limited, 40-year-old Mayumi Okata, and four other employees into custody on suspicion of violating special business transaction laws regarding false claims in the conditions of a contract.
Between June 2010 and November of last year, the company, located in Minato Ward, is alleged to have coerced 400 women, aged between 22 and 35, into contracts for beauty treatments and products worth 500 million yen. The value of each contract was between 100,000 and 2.5 million yen.
A person with knowledge of the matter tells the tabloid that Okata would become “friends” with women on Mixi and make astounding claims about her services. “There’d be a meeting (with women recruited on Mixi),” says the source. “She’d claim to have various beauty secrets, such as for losing 10 kilograms or removing stiffness in the shoulders through a massage.”
The matter came to light after a group of three women, including a 29-year-old from Musashino City, filed a claim with authorities about being brought to Francesca Bianchi via Mixi and unjustly coerced into contracts extending between November of 2011 and June of last year. “The regular price for 20 sessions is four million yen but we can consider you a relative and offer the same treatment for 1.5 million yen,” the women were allegedly told by the company.
“She was making a killing,” says the aforementioned insider.
Shukan Jitsuwa says that incidents of fraud originating from the use of SNS sites are on the rise.
A writer who covers fraud on the Internet says one type of fraud occurs in employment recruitment. “A recruiter will say via an SNS site that he has a friend looking to hire the right person for a role at a foreign firm at an annual salary of 12 million yen,” says the writer. “He’ll then say that he would like to recommend the target female as a candidate but it requires a registration fee of 300,000 yen. Of course, that fee will be paid by bank transfer. This type of thing is increasingly targeting office ladies and career women.”
The world of show business is not immune to similar tactics. For example, say a woman writes on a site that she has always wanted to become a singer.
“Well, she might find a vocal coach offering lessons,” says the aforementioned writer. “He’ll say, ‘If you pass my test, I’ll introduce you to a talent agency.’ The victim will then send in a sample file and video. She’ll be charged 200,000 yen for general instruction and then 20,000 yen for each song. Contact between the two will then cease.” (A.T.)
Source: “Joshi-kai sagi ha hyozan no ikkaku interi joshi mo urareru SNS shoho,” Shukan Jitsuwa (June 27, page 45)