First payment sets off string of scams that ran for months.

The nights are long and cold in Hokkaido, Japan’s snowy northernmost prefecture. It wouldn’t be particularly unusual, then, for a 50-something man living in Sapporo, Hokkaido’s prefectural capital, to turn to the unclothed ladies of the Internet to make his nights a little less lonely.

So maybe the man, whose name has not been released, wasn’t too surprised when he received an email from someone claiming to be a representative from NTT Finance, asking him to call a number the email said was their customer service center, only to be told by another person, this one saying they were from NTS Debt Collection, that he owed money for unpaid porn site fees.

This happened back in October, and the man obediently transferred the demanded amount of money into a bank account the supposed debt collector told him to. However, over the next two months he continued to receive demands for various payments, such as one from someone saying he was a representative from Nihon Network Security. “Your cell phone has spread a virus to many other people, and so you must pay damages to them,” the man was told, as well as that he would have to make a “cyber insurance” payment.

▼ Most people would be suspicious of a report of their phone spreading a virus if it’s apparently too old of a model to even be called a smartphone, but not the man in Sapporo.

The man ended up making dozens of payments before things felt fishy enough for him to go to the police, which he did on December 10. When interviewed, the man said he’d made dozens of payments since the initial “unpaid adult website fees” claim in October, with the total amount he’s handed over coming to roughly 109 million yen (US$1.04 million).

While NTT Finance, NTS Debt Collection, and Nihon Network Security are actual companies, it turns out he was actually transferring his money to fraudsters, who apparently realized they’d hooked a whale and decided to take the man for as much as they could.

Considering his willingness to cough up whatever money he was asked for, it’s possible he hadn’t even gone to any adult site in the first place, but even if he had, charged video streaming website always ask for payment up-front. So remember, anyone asking you to give them money for “unpaid adult site fees” is a scammer. It’s best to just ignore them, and under no circumstances should you engage them in conversation (that’s our job).

Source: NHK News Web via Jin, Yahoo! Japan News/HTB News via Otakomu
Top image: Pakutaso
Insert image: Pakutaso
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