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Friday, January 11, 2013

Scam Targeting Japan Proxy Buying Sites


Here's a clever scam targeting Japan proxy purchasing sites like our sister site GoodsFromJapan, which enables overseas clients to purchase from Japanese stores such as Amazon.jp, Rakuten and Yahoo auctions which usually do not ship internationally.

The fake online store nixononline.info set up by the scammers (see screenshot below) also seeks to defraud Japanese online shoppers in search of a bargain watch.

Spot the poor Japanese
Can you spot the Japanese grammar mistakes?
Here's how it works. First a client, let's call him ChadtheBad@yahoo, seemingly from North America, contacts you wishing to buy an item from a Japan site which does not ship overseas.

Chad kindly provides you with the url of the site and the item he wishes you to buy on his behalf. Let's say in this case it is a moderately expensive watch. To all but the most aware Japanese native speaker the said site looks like a bona fide Japanese sales site but is in fact a Chinese-made scam job, registered at GoDaddy just a month or two ago and with a paid for registration of just 12 months.

Scam site
Notice the Chinese on the title tag of the image
Chad obligingly sends the money for his purchase through Paypal and his commission fee, considerately giving his address as a different one from that registered with his Paypal account, just in case "there is any confusion."

The unwitting Japan proxy buyer site (that's us) pays for Chad's item by Japanese bank transfer to a Japanese bank account registered in a Chinese name. Suspicions begin to rise as email correspondence with the selling site are conducted in poor, school boy Japanese from the latter.

GoDaddy registration
GoDaddy registration Arkansas, San Antonio, New York, 10001 - how do they allow that?
Surprise, surprise when the watch fails to arrive but in its place a fake Tiffany trinket sent from Shenzhen in China. Chad is informed of this unfortunate event and threatens to contact Paypal to demand a refund, while concernedly instructing us to "report this fraudulent website to your authorities." Inquiries to the fake watch site regarding the non-delivery of the watch are met with either "We are working on it" replies or merely silence.

Fake Tiffany Trinket from China
Fake Tiffany Trinket from China

'Chad (Sent from my flippin' Ipad) theBad' then sends us a second url, again a scam Chinese mock up, again registered recently with GoDaddy on a year-long term, and asks us to procure the same watch. Unfortunately it is out of stock so Chad asks for his money back: "Please forward a confirmation email to me stating the full amount returned as soon as possible."

The amounts involved are fairly low to avoid suspicion but the scam is clever as it is appears trans-national, emails seemingly from North America by a fluent English speaker, bank accounts in Japan and products sent from the PRC. On analysis it looks like a Chinese cyber criminal network operating in both China and Japan.

According to The Register, it is estimated over 90,000 people are active in China's online underground impacting a quarter of all Chinese Internet users and costing the Chinese economy millions of dollars.

Fake internet site

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