[19th March 2014]
URGENT WARNING: MUTATING FORMS OF MOTOR VEHICLE FRAUD CASES IN JAPAN
The Embassy has learnt with dismay that the evolving world of cybercrime is now producing new types of bogus dealers and cyber criminals who are now employing new types of tricks to cheat used motor vehicle importers. The first type of fraud has seen criminals hack into an importer's or dealers email system to monitor transactions. They then interfere with communications between a customer and a genuine dealer. In this way, they are able to mislead a client corresponding with a fake employee's email that looks like that of the genuine dealer. After such continuing communication they eventually provide the potential customer with a fraudulent invoice reflecting the fraudster's Bank account. Once this is accomplished, the used car importer will use this misleading information to make payments for the ordered Vehicle(s) unaware that he is remitting money to the wrong bank account. All importers of used vehicles from Japan must remain extremely cautious and weary due to this trend.
In another type of fraud, clients will pay the genuine car dealer after identifying and negotiating a preferred vehicle from the dealer's webpage. Immediately, the money is paid, the criminals who will hacked and are monitoring the client's email will contact the car dealer using a fake email account to provide a fake consignee name and address. This means the vehicle paid for by a genuine client could end up being shipped to a fraudster. Even worse, the criminals could pretend that they are the genuine clients who are no longer interested in buying the car for various reasons. They then demand that the monies be remitted back to them using fraudulent bank accounts. In both cases customers and dealers need to understand that once they have made their remittances to such fraudulent accounts, the chances of recovering such funds is almost zero. In order to avoid such predicaments, potential importers and importers may need to protect themselves from skilful hackers and fraudsters by observing the following basic tips:
- Desist from using easy passwords in your email account.
- Making sure that your passwords to your email account especially those using yahoo, gmail or Hotmail, are changed periodically because such general emails accounts stand a high risk of being targeted by fraudulent hackers.
- Make it a habit to maintain regular telephone communication with your genuine Japanese suppliers to confirm the information transmitted by email regarding the invoices and the correct bank account information before the remittances are made. Double check also to ensure that the correct bank information indicated on company webpage is being reflected on invoices. But this is subject to careful study to ensure that the online company you are dealing with is a genuine one.
- Please note that in the fake emails being sent to clients, their email address as well as company addresses, telephone numbers etc are usually slightly different. Double-checking information received can therefore save you from the hands of an online scammer.
EXAMPLES OF RECENTLY REPORTED ONLINE FRAUD CASES
Be forward is a genuine used car dealer that has experienced many fraud cases targeting their clients. They have even warned customers on their company webpage and provided some case samples.
Delights Japan is another genuine used car dealer that has experienced similar fraud cases targeting at least 2 reported clients. Refer to http://delights.jp/
Examples of Bank fake account information used by fraudsters in the Delight Japan case.
Bank Name: Kansai Urban Banking Corporation
Branch Name: Sakai Branch
Branch Address: 1-1-1, Kumano-Cho Sakai-ku, Osaka, Japan
Bank Account: 295254
Account Name: MASAHIKO ENOMOTO