In recent years, Japan has been inundated with phone scams like one known as Ore Ore Sagi (“Hey it’s me!” Con).  This involves a young man calling an elderly woman pretending to be her son.  He then claims he was in some kind of trouble and asks her to send money via bank transfer.

In a completely new take on this well-known scam, Shigeyuki Goto was arrested on suspicion of extortion and attempted extortion by phone. However, instead of the typical monetary gain he was hoping his victims could sing him a song.

On 24 October Yokote city police have picked up the 46 year-old unemployed man after finding him through phone records and other means.  He was said to have admitted after being confronted by authorities.

In one case, Goto allegedly called a 40-something-year-old woman at home last April and disguised his voice as a little boy saying, “I was taken to a stranger’s place!” Then returning to his real voice he told the woman, “Your son was kidnapped. If you want him returned, have sex with me.”

As they were hashing out the details, a family member contacted the school who confirmed that the boy was in fact safe and attending class.  The woman then promptly refused his demand.

Later on, in August, Goto allegedly struck again, this time changing tactics for a more “reasonable” ransom.  Calling a woman in her 20’s at her workplace, he disguised his voice as an old lady and pleaded “I want you to come back!”

Then, Goto, who is apparently a master impressionist, returned to his normal voice and threatened “Your mother is tied up. Do you want to help her?” When she agreed he demanded that she “sing a song,” among other minor tasks.  When the woman heard his request for music she began to question the situation.

I can see demanding singing for a faked kidnapping victim being some sort of crime. But I never thought it’d be considered extortion on par with Vinnie Two Cheeks shaking down the local jewelers.

Source: Sakigake (Japanese)
Image: RocketNews24