Fraud Is Legal In Japan?

from the just-wondering... dept

This one is a bit confusing. Textually points to an article in Japan about the growing popularity of an SMS spam scam, where people receive SMS messages supposedly from people they know. The SMS either says the user is in the hospital or that there’s some other kind of problem, and asks the user to click on a link. Going to that link then charges the user quite a bit of money. Some of the sites are pornographic, others just seem to cost a lot. Basically, it’s just taking a typical online scam and adjusting it for the mobile phone world. Obviously a bad thing, but not particularly surprising. What is surprising, is that people say there’s nothing actually illegal in this. That’s because the anti-spam regulations in Japan don’t cover text messages. Of course, what’s not clear is why this should be covered by anti-spam laws. This seems like outright fraud. A message is being sent under misleading means, with a forged “from” address and is designed to defraud the user. It seems weird that that wouldn’t be covered by existing anti-fraud laws. Also, no one seems to explain how the scammers are sending out SMS messages to appear from friends of the recipients.

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Comments on “Fraud Is Legal In Japan?”

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dorpus says:

Revolving Door Justice System

Back in the 80s, Americans complained about the short prison terms that criminals receive, so criminals could come right back out and commit more crimes. We’ve created severe prison terms for most violent criminals now. Japan is like America of the 80s, where known sex predators, psychopaths, scammers receive short prison terms, and public opinion is still pro-“rights”, anti-police.

Police did catch that psycho who butchered the 7-year-old girl and used her cell phone to send pictures to her parents. He was the newspaper deliveryman, and he had been to prison multiple times for sex offenses. Japan lacks a Megan’s law-style registry, so police could not track him down right away. Also, there’s another teenager who decapitated a 1st-grader a few years ago, got released recently, publicly made threatening statments about the glory of killing people, and now they’ve found a decapitated baby in the same city where he lives now. With enough incidents like this, they’ll probably start locking up prisoners for good.

Anonymous Troll says:

Re: Revolving Door Justice System

> public opinion is still pro-“rights”, anti-police.

I tell you what, when you’ve had to deal with the Japanese police, you can comment on them. Until then, just STFU.

The Japanese police are several times more isolated and distanced from the people they serve than their American equivalents. It’s not uncommon at all to find police officers are forced to serve “tours of duty” well outside of the city they call “home”, just like folks in the military… and you sure as hell don’t give a JP any lip, unless you want a fat one.

The good things I will say about the Japanese police are that they haven’t built a system of justice around the almighty dollar/yen… speed traps are rare, they don’t ticket gratuitously and the ratio of police to civilians is low. On significant criminal investigations, they tend to make sure they are 100% correct before they make the jump and accuse someone of a crime.

BTW, they do have the death penalty, though they don’t use it as much as they should.

Steve Mueller (user link) says:

Caller ID Spoofing?

Also, no one seems to explain how the scammers are sending out SMS messages to appear from friends of the recipients.

I’m no expert on SMS backends, but would Caller ID spoofing be sufficient? You send an SMS message via a Caller ID spoofing system and the recipient gets the text message and sees the phone number that the scammer spoofed.

aNonMooseCowherd says:


I don’t understand why people have an obligation to pay a bill just because someone sends one to them, since in these cases no goods or services are purchased. How is this different from anyone else who just randomly sends out letters claiming that people owe money? Does Japan treat URLs like 900 phone numbers, where simply accessing them incurs a liability?

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