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Crypto Scammers Preying On Older Japanese Singles – Report


A young man talks on a cell phone while looking at an envelope filled with Japanese banknotes.

Crypto Scammers Preying On Older Japanese Singles – Report

A young man talks on a cell phone while looking at an envelope filled with Japanese banknotes.
Source: yamasan/Adobe

Crypto scammers are targeting older Japanese singles on social media and dating apps. But middle-aged Japanese lonely hearts also find themselves in the crosshairs of scammers. And some scammers seem to be targeting even younger individuals.

In a column for Nikkan Gendai, financial adviser Kuroiwa Yasushi wrote:

“Single elderly people are alone. I understand that. However, [crypto scammers] who prey on them are now endemic. Victims of crypto fraud are now coming forward, one after another.

Kuroiwa gave the example of one of his clients – a man in his 60s – who contacted him for advice on bitcoin (BTC). During their chat, the man revealed he was chatting with a “woman” on a dating app. She said she wanted him to invest in BTC through a certain platform.

Lately, scammers based on dating apps seem eager to direct their victims to fake crypto trading platforms. Once they have control of their victim’s funds, scammers usually break contact.

Some also seek to trick victims into purchasing “crypto mining packages” that offer “guaranteed” monthly earnings. A number of these schemes – in Japan, elsewhere in East Asia and further afield – have been exposed as sweepstakes or more basic scams.

Kuroiwa explained that he was finally able to help the client identify the “suspicious” nature of the “woman” he had been chatting with. But he warned that “single seniors should be careful” when using chat apps and aware of the growing dangers of “crypto-asset scammers”.

Crypto Scammers looking for Japanese lonely hearts – of all ages

Media outlet Nico Video reported that crypto scammers are also preying on young victims on platforms such as Line, Twitter and Instagram. The outlet reported that the masterminds of the multi-level marketing (MLM) scam were offering teens “guaranteed” profits of up to 40% on smaller stakes.

In many cases, the scammers appeared to be impersonating wealthy, attractive young men – in an effort to trick young women into signing up for “fake” crypto “investment training” sessions.

The outlet noted that the government was responding by increasing the amount of “financial education” it offered to “middle and high school students”.

Government warning

And Saga Shimbun reported that a 30-year-old man from Kashima fell prey to a crypto scam that left him out of pocket to the tune of nearly $56,000.

Officers said the man started chatting with a ‘Singaporean woman’ on a social media platform in mid-December last year.

The woman told him she was “making over $200,000 a month” trading crypto – and convinced him to invest in coins.

The man, police said, purchased coins worth $56,000 and sent them to a trading platform, making six trades in total. In mid-January, however, problems began to arise. Another individual, who claimed to be a crypto exchange employee, contacted the man to say that his coins had been “frozen”.

The man eventually realized he had no way to access his funds. Realizing now that he had been duped, he finally filed a complaint with the police.

In 2021, a national watchdog warned men between the ages of 30 and 49 to be aware of the risks involved when investing in crypto on the advice of strangers.

Joanna Swanson

Joanna Swanson is Europe correspondent at the Thomson Reuters Foundation based in Brussels covering politics, culture, business, climate change, society, economies and inclusive tech. With specific focus in breaking news, she has covered some of the world's most significant stories.