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Fraudsters in Japan are now targeting the elderly with cryptocurrency-related scams. News outlet Mainichi reports that an 84-year-old woman in Ashikaga, in Tochigi Prefecture, handed over USD 9,000 to a scammer after falling victim to a voice phishing attack.
Police in Ashikaga recounted that the woman was contacted in mid-February by phone by a man pretending to be her brother. The man told her that he was in severe financial difficulties after running into trouble with his cryptocurrency investments.
Police say that the fraudster was taking advantage of the fact that the news in Japan at the time was dominated by cryptocurrency-events such as the massive hack on the Coincheck exchange, crypto price volatility and reports on Japanese investors who had lost considerable amounts of money on crypto.
After repeated phone calls from the fraudster, the pensioner agreed to meet a man who claimed to be a lawyer representing her brother, in a public street, where she handed over the money in cash.
The woman realized she had been duped the next day, when her real brother contacted her.
A police spokesperson said that it is still searching for the fraudster, but warned, “If members of the public receive phone calls asking for help in any cryptocurrency-related case, please double-check with your family, or contact the police immediately.”
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