Japan is home to a very specific type of con-artist. There’s something called ‘Ore Ore’ Fraud (that ore being pronounced not as in a miner striking a seam of metallic rock, but as in an aggressively drunk Spaniard sarcastically celebrating the murder of a cow), which essentially translates as ‘It’s me, it’s me’.
The con works like this: the scamsters aggressively and persistently harangue their victims, often in their own homes, repeating the same simple message – “It’s me! It’s me!” – and through providing that information and nothing else hope that the natural credulity and weak-mindedness of their targets will act to embellish whatever details are necessary to convince them that this ‘me’ is someone who they actually know and appreciate and value. Once this cognitive sleight-of-hand has been achieved, the fraudsters then convince their marks to give them stuff that if they actually thought about it in any meaningful way at all they’d be extremely reluctant to bestow on them.
These people’s prime targets are easily confused elderly people sitting on comfortable nest eggs, and this being Japan there’s no shortage of citizens who fit that description. In many ways this con is only feasible in Japan, if not in concept then in scale. No other country contains quite the right demographic and economic conditions to allow these fraudsters to operate so pervasively and successfully, or with such little push-back or resistance. Needless to say, these con-artists hold their victims in nothing but contempt – assuming all that is necessary to induce people into making significant decisions that could severely impact upon their future prospects is to repeatedly assert the fact that you exist is nothing but contemptuous, I think we could all agree – but they keep at it because sadly, depressingly, it works. Or at least when it fails there is little to fear by way of retribution. And so they persist; constantly, unceasingly, indefatigably pedalling their one-size-fits-all sledgehammer deceit because while it is demonstrably broke, no one really fancy fixing it. Periodic flare-ups are unfathomably tolerated by the populace, and while some more forthright netizens may point out that, hey, this isn’t really something that people should be doing, most persist with their business in a bubble of indifferent tolerance and thus the prospects of anything actually being done about these shysters is disappointingly slim. Ultimately it’s up to individuals, up to you, to protect yourselves as best you can.
This has all been by way of a public service announcement. Stay safe, and don’t have nightmares.