Never let anyone you don’t know look through your bag, regardless of where you are.

Japan is a relatively safe country. Aside from the occasional pervert groping women on trains or running around with nothing but a bra on, you can rest assured that you will most likely not be a victim of a crime, especially not mugging or murder.

Scams, however, are a pretty common occurrence in Japan. Since they’re designed to take advantage of people’s generosity, or to play on community culture, people are easily tricked or coerced into paying money in order to “help a friend” or to preserve their or their company’s reputation. One such scam that was recently reported by a Japanese netizen shows that it isn’t just the vulnerable who might be susceptible, like the elderly or the lonely; even innocent otaku may be targeted for fraud.

After shopping at a local anime goods store, the netizen was approached by a man who asked to check her bag:

“This just happened to me, so I want everyone to be careful!
I had just finished shopping at my local Surugaya, and when I left the store an older man in his forties approached me from behind and said, ‘Excuse me. I need to check your bag.’
I confirmed the contents of my bag, then he handed me a business card.
He started checking my bag, saying ‘Lately there’s been a lot of shoplifting going on,’ but as he was saying it I saw him try to slip a rubber character key chain into my bag.
Right away I said, ‘Did you just put a key chain into my bag? Can I call the police?’
He said, ‘I didn’t,” but we was really agitated and I knew he did.
As soon as I turned my eyes away he grabbed the key chain and ran.
I went and told the shop staff immediately but I don’t know when he’ll do it again, so I want everyone to be very careful.”

After first hearing the story you might wonder, what’s wrong with a guy giving you a free key chain? But judging by his behavior, he clearly didn’t have good intentions, and other netizens offered their thoughts on what could have happened if she hadn’t seen him placing the key chain in her bag.

They wanted to falsely accuse her of shoplifting. They would have used it to blackmail her into doing what they want, into paying some money, or into some kind of violent situation, otherwise they would tell her workplace or school that she was shoplifting. If you don’t remember exactly what’s in your bag, make sure you call the police before you show it to anyone.”

“Some criminals disguise themselves as shop assistants or security guards and then slip products into people’s bags. Then they blackmail you for money or sex acts. This is a common crime. Something like this has appeared in the news in the past so it’s totally possible.”

So it seems like not only do you have to be aware of what’s in your bag, but make sure to never allow someone you don’t know to handle your bag, and if someone “official” wants to see it, call the police first. Even if framing wasn’t the intention, as other netizens pointed out, someone could put a bomb or a tracking device in your bag, or steal something from you. Always be vigilant!

This particular crime seems to target otaku women, but luckily this netizen came out unscathed. Of course, men and anyone else can fall prey to it too. But if you’re worried about your safety in Japan, don’t be! The Kyoto police are working on a crime-prediction system to keep all of their citizens and visitors safe. The Minority Report future is upon us.

Source: My Game News Flash
Top Image: Pakutaso
Insert Image: Pakutaso