New variation of fraud uses numbered gift cards

Okinawa City Police published details of a case of fraud on Apr. 18, in which fraudster convinced an unemployed woman in her ‘50s living in Okinawa City to buy a large amount of gift tickets sold at convenience stores.

The tickets have number that can be revealed by scratching off the ink covering them. The numbers can then be used to purchase items from a website without identification of the purchaser.

According to police, a caller contacted the woman on Apr. 11, claiming, “You have to pay unpaid charges you have incurred on a pay website. If you don’t pay, this case goes to courts and will cost you much more.” The woman was then instructed to pay using numbers from scratch-off gift cards.

The woman had no idea what the caller was talking about but she anyway went to 10 convenience stores, and bought gift tickets for a total of ¥500,000 to obtain the numbers. She then called back to the fraudster and read him the numbers from the gift cards over the phone without ever seeing him.