Convenience store operators and workers who thwarted two separate crypto scams have been handed special awards by Japanese police.
According to Ryuku Shimpo, officers in Naha, Okinawa Prefecture, presented special letters of appreciation to a 54-year-old man named Katsuya Fujiwara and his 51-year-old wife Kiyomi, the co-owners of a 7-Eleven branch in the town.
Officers told reporters that on May 23 this year, an elderly woman came into their store, evidently “in a hurry” and saying that she urgently needed to transfer around USD 920 worth of crypto. Kiyomi reportedly sensed that something was amiss and asked the customer to refrain from making the crypto transfer – which in Japan can be conducted in many convenience stores via prepaid cards – while her husband called the police to report a suspected case of fraud.
On June 2, the officers continued, a “man in his 60s” came into a branch of Family Mart in Naha where he asked a clerk how to buy prepaid crypto cards, claiming that he had been told he needed to exchange tokens for cash after being told he had received a gift worth USD 3.2m.
The store’s 25-year-old manager, Suzuko Muramatsu, immediately “noticed” that a case of fraud was in the offing and proceeded to contact a Naha-based police station.
The Fujiwaras were quoted as stating that public recognition was unnecessary, and that they had simply “done the obvious thing.” Matsumura, meanwhile, said:
“I would like to continue contributing to the safety of the people in this region and cooperating with police along with the store’s staff.”
The trio posed with officers for a photoshoot, where they were officially handed their framed letters of appreciation.
Crypto-related fraud instances have been on the rise in Japan of late, where middle-aged and elderly citizens have allegedly fallen victim to sophisticated scams, some of which police believe may have been masterminded by individuals in their late 50s and early 60s.
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