Social media “cash giveaway” scams are on the rise in Japan

Japan is seeing an increase in social media posts pretending to be cash giveaways from celebrities, as some people have been cheated on e-money through these scams.

“There is no anti-phishing law on social media,” said one expert, using a term for deceptive spoofing on the Internet, calling for swift action against the fraud.

In January 2019, businessman Yusaku Maezawa drew attention by posting on Twitter to award 1 million yen per 100 people. The number of these cash giveaway posts has increased since then.

Posts usually ask people to become an account follower or retweet to get money. Some novels publish photos of stacks of notes to draw people indoors while concealing their identities.

A resident of Ishikawa Prefecture in her 30s was defrauded with 5,000 yen e-money in November last year through a fake Twitter account opened in the name of Yuta Misaki, another popular entrepreneur.

The account used his profile picture as a photo of Misaki, who had already offered to donate cash on social media in September 2019.

The woman thought she would get 1 million yen if she sent e-money 5,000 yen as the fake account told her. But when no response was received, she realized she had been deceived.

“I thought there would be no problem, because (the fake account) has hundreds of thousands of followers,” she said.

University of Rishu Kimiyaki Nishida University professor, a social psychologist, said that verified Twitter badges and large numbers of followers make it easy to gain users’ trust.

Meanwhile, verification badges and accounts with hundreds of thousands of followers are being sold online for tens of thousands of yen.

Maezawa and Misaki, whose names have been used on fake Twitter accounts with verification badges circulating, drew attention to the problem, warning that many people were being fooled.

Twitter Inc. In reviewing its verification badge check process.

“It’s difficult to investigate online accounts, as they are recorded based on fake information,” said Narumi Sasaki, a former member of the Saitama Prefecture Police Digital Crime Investigation Team.

“It is imperative to prohibit such hunting and trading in fake accounts,” Sasaki said.

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