警察白書 国民の「抵抗力」が被害を防ぐ

The Yomiuri Shimbun(Aug. 11, 2009)
Develop immunity to remittance frauds
警察白書 国民の「抵抗力」が被害を防ぐ(8月11日付・読売社説)

This year's white paper on police published by the National Police Agency has a special section titled "Measures against crimes that threaten people's daily lives."

As examples of such crimes, it mentions bank remittance fraud and vicious business scams. It details current police measures against remittance fraud and lists related problems to be tackled.

The total number of criminal offense cases has been decreasing in recent years after peaking in 2002. But the white paper points out that the spread of such crimes is "one of the factors preventing people's uneasiness about public security from being allayed."

If the current economic slump prolongs, new types of crimes that threaten people's daily lives may proliferate.

The police white paper emphasizes that it is important to enhance people's understanding and cooperation when it comes to fighting crime, such as by encouraging members of the public to provide information to police, and to boost people's crime-prevention capability. Indeed, preventing remittance fraud is not something that can be accomplished by police alone.


Various ploys used

There are a variety of ploys used in the commission of remittance fraud, including the "It's me" type, in which offenders pretend to be a son or grandchild of the targeted victim, and the refund type, in which offenders pass themselves off as workers at social insurance and tax offices.

People across the country have been victimized. In many cases, money remitted to criminals is withdrawn from ATMs in the Tokyo metropolitan area. The bank accounts and cell phones used in the crimes belong to third parties or fictitious people.

The criminals in the groups that run the scams perform different tasks, and it is not easy to gain a clear picture of how the frauds are perpetrated. For instance, a group might consist of a person who dupes victims, one who obtains bank accounts and cell phones, and another who withdraws swindled money. The ratio of arrests to cases of remittance fraud remains slightly more than 20 percent.

The NPA has been making efforts to combat such crimes, with police forces nationwide alerted to take countermeasures. For instance, it has inputted the modus operandi of all reported remittance fraud cases into a database that can be used in investigations. It also has deployed a special full-time investigation force comprising investigators from the Metropolitan Police Department and prefectural police headquarters in the metropolitan area.

These were necessary responses to fight a crime that is a threat to people all over the country.


Cat-and-mouse game continues

After banks limited the amount of cash that may be transferred via ATM to 100,000 yen, cases of money being remitted between accounts increased. Offenders began using a special postal package service to receive money instead of ATMs, which are subject to heightened security measures to counter remittance fraud.

Police will have to continue their cat-and-mouse game with these wily offenders. To prevent new scams from being devised, it is crucial to prevent criminals from using and coming up with new ways to foil police, including revising related laws and creating new ones.

What can be done to prevent bank accounts, ATMs and cell phones from being used in crimes? Financial institutions and cell phone service operators should think seriously about measures to solve this problem.

The need for cooperation among agencies and ministries concerned--including the Financial Services Agency, the Internal Affairs and Communications Ministry and the consumer affairs agency that is to be launched as early as autumn--is also increasingly evident.

In its conclusion, the white paper describes the importance of reviving solidarity among people in communities as well as bonds among family members, which are weaker than they used to be, so society as a whole can combat crime.

What should we do to prevent criminals from cheating us? Steady efforts by individual communities are also now required to combat crime.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Aug. 11, 2009)
(2009年8月11日01時07分 読売新聞)

by kiyoshimat | 2009-08-11 08:43 | 英字新聞

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