Japanese police thank convenience store worker for helping woman avoid fraud

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Kusatsu Police Station Chief Yutaka Kawaguchi, right, is seen after handing Takeshi Ogura a thank you letter for helping a convenience store customer avoid being defrauded, February 14, 2022, at the station Kusatsu Police Station in Kusatsu, Shiga Prefecture. (Mainichi/Kengo Suga)

KUSATSU, Shiga — A convenience store employee in Kusatsu, Shiga Prefecture received a thank you letter from local police on Feb. 14 after helping to save a resident from being taken away by crooks.

Takeshi Ogura, a 26-year-old resident of the prefectural city of Ritto, works part-time at a FamilyMart convenience store branch near JR Kusatsu Station. On February 14, he received Kusatsu Police Station’s Certificate of Appreciation from the Shiga Prefectural Police for helping a local woman avoid being a victim of “support fraud.”

In the case of support fraud, perpetrators receive a message that appears on a user’s computer, cell phone or other electronic device, claiming that it has been “infected with a virus “. They then solicit payment from the victim to restore their electronic device, among other fictitious services.

According to the police station, around 2 a.m. on January 22, a Kusatsu resident in her 50s received a “virus infection” warning on her computer. She called the alert number and was told to buy 50,000 yen (about $434) worth of electronic money from the convenience store where Ogura works. After complying with the instructions, she was told around 4 a.m. to change the funds to another form of e-money, and she returned to the store. Ogura suspected something was wrong and said, “It’s a fraud, isn’t it?” After convincing her, he called the police.

In 2021, 23 support fraud cases were recorded in Shiga Prefecture, nine more than in 2020. The prefectural police also received 27 consultations regarding the crime in 2021, an increase of 21 from the previous year. ‘last year. Many victims are said to be between 40 and 60 years old.

Kusatsu Police Station Chief Yutaka Kawaguchi expressed his gratitude to Ogura, saying, “A crime was averted because you alerted her without hesitation.” Ogura said he wanted to “share information with other store employees and work as a store to prevent people from being defrauded.”

(Japanese original by Kengo Suga, Otsu Bureau)

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