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Popularity of smartphones in Japan fueling scams

Shukan Asahi Geino Dec. 22
Shukan Asahi Geino Dec. 22

Younger generations are finding multi-function smartphones appealing, but using one also increases susceptibility to fraud, reports Shukan Asahi Geino (Dec. 22).

The classic one-click spam from adult-oriented sites are becoming wide spread, says an editor from an IT magazine. “Just as we still remember that there a large number of victims when personal computers and mobile phones became hits,” the source says, “criminals are also taking advantage of the increase in popularity of smart phones.”

The editor says that the major issue is that younger generations are not familiar with one-click spam. “Middle school and high school kids click once and become victims,” says the editor. “In addition to leaking his or her email address, an invoice asking for 50,000 yen will follow. Fearing to be caught by their parents, they just pay.”

Needless to say one should simply discard such spam. It is, however, understandable that these kids become panicked as they have no knowledge of how these scams work.

Chek Li, a journalist with knowledge of the scams, says that the number of victims varies depending on the smartphone model. “It is difficult for those with an Android 2.1 to distinguish server verification forms and signatures to approve payment. It makes it easier for those committing crimes to run their scams. Manufacturers noticed this and upgraded the security for the Android 2.2. While I am mot encouraging people to switch phones, guardians should provide kids with higher security measures.”

What if one is victimized? The previously quoted editor says not to panic. “While the scam site will have sent a message indicating that your information has been leaked, as long as you don’t access it again, they will mot obtain anything further. If they are persistent, then go to a consumer affairs agency or something similar.”

Still, the scams change all the time. “With free wireless becoming a hot topic, this again provides opportunities for the criminals to obtain the information from users,” journalist Li says. “There is also a risk for making users involved in other crimes. Basically, a smartphone is a PC. Adults need to teach kids that the smartphone is a different level of usage.” (K.N.)

Source: “Sumaho dairyuko no kagede erosaito sagi ga oko chugakusei wo hyoteki ni 5 man en harae to odoshi meeru ga” Shukan Asahi Geino (Dec. 22, page 70)