For years the increasing elderly population of Japan has been under attack by scammers posing as their sons and daughters. In what’s called the “oreore sagi” (Hey, it’s me! Con) the scammer calls on the telephone and poses as the victim’s child asking them for an emergency load due to an accident or trouble at work.

Now it seems the fraud is on the other foot as younger smartphone users have been reporting unusual emails from dear old Ma asking them to click on a link. However, an entertaining bright side to these attempted crimes can be found too. One blogger eloquently put it: These junk mails are fascinating in that they can be quite elaborate and yet also look really half-assed at the same time.

First here’s a typical example of a junk mail from Mom as tweeted by one smartphone user. If you notice about five messages down, nestled between the porn ads and other requests for personal information, is a desperate cry for help.

Subject: Help
From: It is Mom

Another twitter user shows us what happens if you don’t answer mom’s call for help.

Subject: Dad
Message: Dad. Mother has died. Please contact me urgently.

Looks pretty legit. I know whenever there’s an emergency at home my father gets right to building a website and so he can send me a link to it in an email. We can also tell it’s an emergency because dad didn’t have time to register a catchy domain name and had to resort to random letters.

Although this was troubling news, the same person was later relieved to learn a few hours later that her mom was still among the living.

Subject: It is mom
Message: It is mom. Did you hear from your father?

Apparently she was also making a webpage to communicate with her daughter. Sadly though this junk mail saga takes a turn for the worse with yet another mail from mom.

Message: “Your father is having an affair. Please contact me urgently.”

Sometimes these identities crafted by con artists take on lives of their own and their stories transcend people’s individual junk mail experiences. In this next example we see a mail from “Yukie’s true mom” followed a few hours later by a mail from Yukie herself. Back in the day you’d pay to see this kind of drama but now it gets sent straight to your phone for free!

First Message: “We need to talk about that girl.”
Second Message: “Do you know my mom?”

Luckily both Yukie and her true mother have separate “inquiries and info” email addresses to facilitate your helping them reunite.

Despite the intertwining back stories between all these family members everyone really comes across a little too stoic and sometimes downright chilling in their simplicity.

From: Mom
Subject: From Mother
Message: It is Mom.

These scammers should take note of what a real mom’s email usually looks like, although even this recipient was suspicious at first that it was her real mother.

From: Mother
Subject: Haaaaaai ((o(^o^)o))
Message: Do you work tonight [cute interrobang] Finally [cute exclamation mark] It’s my smartphone debut [winky emoticon] Send me a mail eh? [heart] Send me an illustration of a girl’s balloon (^o^)/ [cute interrobang] [cute exclamation mark]

While they are still a ways from capturing the nurturing enthusiasm of a real mom, the fraudsters are growing ever more sophisticated. Just check out this one.

From: It is Mom
Subject: The case with my daughter
Message: Ever since that thing with the guy she has grown distant from me. Although we strongly oppose their relationship, our daughter choose to live with him. On the day she was dead to me. Gradually I began to convince myself that she never even existed. I’ve heard rumors that now she’s living a second life in India as a priest. She is a monk called Vajrayana.

https://twitter.com/hyugabitas/status/557847521956229120

I’m not quite sure what that last message was fishing for. I guess they were hoping some sympathetic soul would reply and they’d keep reeling them in with another sob story. Whatever the case may be, the lesson to be learnt from all these tweets is clear: Moms are no longer to be trusted. Of course, you can trust your real mom, but online their integrity has been compromised. The only solution is to cut all ties with our mothers from this point on to be safe from the clutches of e-hustlers and cybergrifters. It’s hard I know, but I think we can all agree our moms would want it this way.

Sniff…Stay safe out there…

Source: Naver Matome (Japanese)
Top image: Twitter (1,2) (edited by RocketNews24)
Insert image: RocketNews24