A Reason for Joining Neighbourhood Association

Being a member of neighbourhood association has its downsides. Passing around circulars as often as twice a week is definitely one such botheration. How I wish they would wait a while for all those meaningful memos and catalogs to amass to some degree before dispatch.

Anyway, today a notice came around giving warning about recent ‘ore-ore’ fraud tactics. A common form of remittance scam, whereby a fraudster phones an elderly mark, often posing as his or her child, begging for money to be sent urgently to resolve a fraught and dire situation. A typical phone call is said to begin with, “Ore dayo, ore!”, or, “It’s me, me!”, and hence the appellation.

With all the media coverage that has been made over the past several years, one would think that no one would be deceived anymore by this trite modus operandi. Alas, that may not be the case. I checked for data on the National Police Agency site. The number of ‘ore-ore’ scams that have been recorded from January to September of this year totaled to a staggering 3,454 cases, with a sum of roughly 6 billion yen of swindled money. Now it seems, the culprits are becoming evermore artful. Donning an impersonation, a call is made prior to the ‘ore-ore’ hoax to the unsuspecting target, informing that he has changed his cell-phone number. This way, the victims will be less likely to contact their true sons and daughters whilst the swindles take place.

‘Ore-ore’ fraud is not the only tactic in which victims are duped into transferring money to dubious accounts. A newfangled scheme involves tricksters, claiming to be city government officials, requesting for donations to help victims of Great East Japan Earthquake. Sickening, isn’t it?

I hope the notice helps deter such scams from conning my neighbours.

In the area that I live in, the community is pretty close-knit, and as far as crime prevention is concerned, it has its benefits. My neighbours and I, whenever we have to leave our houses empty for a day or more, always inform each other so the circulars can be skipped over. I believe that there is also an implicit, mutual understanding to keep a lookout for anything unusual in the homes whilst the residents are away.

And you know what? There is also a treat to this vigilance. You often receive ‘omiyage’, a gift, as a sign of gratitude. Yesterday, my neighbour to the left gave me a box of Yatsuhashi, a Japanese confectionery that is popular in Kyoto. My neighbour to the right, who had been to Kyushu, brought me almond cakes a few days ago. Awesome, isn’t it?

When you get to have your afternoon tea with such delights as these, the tedious undertaking of passing around notices no longer ceases to matter. Let them come in heaps!

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4 Responses to A Reason for Joining Neighbourhood Association

  1. So they pose as the victim’s child – that’s pretty harsh!

  2. hellopoponta says:

    My neighbour experienced it a few years back, and she said that the sobbing and pleading sounded so genuine, she cried listening to it. Never got conned, though.

  3. chrysanthemummum says:

    Just stumbled across your blog.
    It amazes me that they don’t recognise their offspring’s voice.

    • hellopoponta says:

      Hello, thank you for visiting!
      I know, I’m mystified too. I can’t possibly imagine my parents or my in-laws to be fooled.
      But what is so cunning about this scheme seems to be that the victim is given no time to doubt. You hear a frantic voice saying maybe that a yakuza is about to cut off one’s finger, and that you must send money straight away. The caller often pretends to have a cold so as to give excuse for the muffled voice.
      I think there was a recent news of a woman who got conned for the third time with this scheme. I can only imagine that there are vulnerable elderly people out there.

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