What is with the kids these days? First, it was high school students committing gruesome murders and now it’s middle school students getting involved in telephone scams.

It’s enough to make you shout, “Are the kids alright??”

Anyone who has used an ATM in Japan has surely seen the stickers and posters plastered across every available surface warning against telephone scams and fraud. The most well-known, of course, is the ore ore sagi–or the “It’s me! It’s me!” scam–wherein the scammer calls an older person who may not have the best hearing. The scammer claims to be their child or grandchild, hurriedly saying “Hey, it’s me!” over and over before saying they’ve gotten into trouble and need a large sum of money right away, begging their target to send them the money using an ATM’s direct deposit.

One variation of the scam has the scammer calling, claiming to be a co-worker of the person’s child or grandchild, explaining that child or grandchild urgently needs a large sum of money to get out of a bind at work. The scammer will then arrange to meet the target and arrive wearing a suit and carrying a briefcase, looking as respectable as possible.


And that brings us to today’s story of wayward youth!

According to police, a 15-year-old girl has been arrested for attempting to scam a 55-year-old woman out of 4,000,000 yen (roughly US$40,700). The teenager called the woman, who is an apartment building manager, claiming to be her son. Over the phone, the teen told the middle-aged woman, “I lost a bankbook that I have to give to a client. I need you to get the money ready for me!” She then went on to say that a subordinate would come to pick up the cash.

After the 55-year-old woman received the youngester’s phone call, she immediately notified police to let them know where her would-be scammer had arranged to meet. Police then informed the station staff to be on the lookout, which lead to one of the staff spotting and capturing the wayward youth.

The third-year middle school student was wearing a business suit and carrying a briefcase with her hair swept back when she was arrested. She’d even gone so far as to use a sarashi, basically a long piece of white cloth, to hide her breasts. The station staff member who nabbed the girl commented that he thought she was actually a young man!

Sarashi on the left below. They are often used under kimono.


The 15-year-old confessed to attempting to scam the apartment manager, saying, “My senpai [probably an older classmate in this case] asked me to do it. I knew that it would be a crime.”

Japanese Internet users had questions that demand answering.

I wonder if she was wearing a giant baggy suit so big it covered up her hands…

Wouldn’t it have been better to just go as a woman??

Doesn’t this remind you of the movie Hatsu-koi (First Love) about the 300 million yen case in the 1960s?

Since she was a middle school student, the press won’t release pictures of her face. So, I guess we’ll just have to imagine what she looked like.

Didn’t her voice give her away??

We’re assuming her voice is probably what tipped over her target as well. Though maybe the woman just realized how absurd the whole thing was.

While the crime is bad enough, but what we can’t figure out is why middle school students needed more than $40,000. Were they planning to buy thousands of Hello Kitty pencil cases?

Sources: Asahi Shinbun Digital, Himasoku
Image sources: Otsu City, Koiko mono, Wikipedia