Here is another example of what I was discussing the other day related to Japanese people hoarding cash in their homes depending on their family history and how much savings they have and their ages. In Japan, many elderly Japanese people who are retired with large savings and pensions including many female Japanese spouses who have lost their husbands, keep a huge amount of cash in their homes. One of the reasons they hoard cash in their homes is because elderly people in Japan find it inconvenient to go back and forth to the bank or post office whenever they need cash to pay bills or go shopping. Today on television, the news covered the story of an elderly Japanese woman who somehow was talked into giving up ¥1 billion to a man running a scam of some sort who was able to lure this Japanese elderly woman into the scam. Many of these scams are based on some type of a “tax refund” scam which the elderly are completely uneducated and unprepared to deal with. The other telephone scam is dubbed the “It’s me” (オレオレ詐欺, or ore-ore sagi) scam. An elderly woman receives a phone call with the caller telling the Japanese elderly woman it’s a relative and they need money. This scam has brought Japanese scamster entrepreneurs an astonishing ¥48 f#cking billion in 2013.
Since all scams are based on something tangible and perceived as being real, this Japanese women apparently fell prey to the scheme this con artist pulled off. Subsequently, she lost ¥1 billion in cash in which she turned over this money in two separate payments each of ¥500 million. The news program covering this story mentioned that this elderly Japanese woman had kept the money in her house, so somehow the people who ran this scam against her targeted her knowing many elderly people keep this kind of cash on hand in their homes. Last month, the Japanese police started cracking down on these prevalent scams and shut down what they claimed were 2,100 telephone lines used in fraudulent schemes. Astonishingly enough, the Japanese police also reported that since January, 2015 a reported ¥5.5 billion has been lost in these types of scams and in more cases than not against elderly Japanese. At the same time, cyber threats to corporate bank accounts and regional lenders reached ¥1.85 billion during 2015.
This isn’t a single rare case and neither is it uncommon in Japan for the elderly to be scammed like this for huge amounts of money. The generation of Japanese who worked to build Japan’s corporate power after WWII are now retired and many are on comfortable pensions along with huge savings accounts. Some of their savings in the form of cash sits in their homes and is taken out of circulation which I discussed briefly in an earlier blog post. Well, look on the upside of this ¥1 billion scam. At least the money is back in circulation at some point. Also trying to find more information out about is on bank accounts of the elderly with large savings and pensions which are deposited into their bank accounts who have no children or close relatives. Many of these elderly female spouses whose husbands have died are completely exposed and vulnerable to these types of sophisticated scams in which they are not prepared to defend themselves against. I am wondering too if this money in their bank accounts after their deaths isn’t reverted to the bank’s assets? It is astonishing – well maybe not – the low level of investment smarts the average Japanese seem to have concerning how they use their (“it’s mine” mentality) savings. Much of their savings is turned over to the largest post office banking system in the world. Some estimates place the amount in Japan’s postal banking system at a staggering US$3 trillion making one of the largest cash-holding (including insurance deposits) institutions in the world. The remaining portion sitting in their homes stagnating. Try reforming this institution as a Japanese politician and your political career would be scrubbed immediately.