How it works:
- Situation: this scam got so out of hand that in 2014, it was covered in the Japan Times.
- Set-up: fake officers will approach and ask to see your ID. Females are usually targeted. Next, they will “arrest” you and take you to a more isolated area and then rob you.
- Past case: in 2017, fake officers stole 190 million yen from a Chinese student on a busy street in Tokyo. The student was spotted coming out of a precious metals shop, where he’d just sold gold bars for cash.
Places to beware:
What to do:
- Be skeptical: if you have not broken the law.
- Three steps: verify badges and threaten to call the police hotline. Never give your passport – only show a photocopy. Insist you will only comply at a police station with a lawyer or someone from your embassy.
- Valuables: hide in a money belt/hidden pouch and use a cheap spare wallet with little cash which can be given up.