Don’t Be Fooled! Staying Safe from Scams in Japan

Japan is a haven for tourists, known for its stunning scenery, rich culture, and famously low crime rates. However, even in this paradise, travellers and residents alike can be targeted by scams. Here’s what you need to know to protect yourself from fraud:

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Classic Tourist Traps:

  • Fake Monks: Be wary of people dressed as monks approaching you in tourist areas. Real monks typically won’t solicit donations.
  • The Friend in Need (Ore-Ore Sagi): This scam preys on the elderly. Scammers impersonate a relative in urgent need of money, often citing a fictional workplace mishap.
  • The Bait-and-Switch: Some restaurants or shops might lure you in with a low price, then pressure you into ordering overpriced extras.

Modern Monetary Mischief:

  • Phony Investments: Be skeptical of unsolicited investment offers, especially online. Never send money without verifying the legitimacy of the company.
  • Currency Exchange Cons: Always use reputable money changers. Verify exchange rates before finalising transactions.

Staying Secure:

  • Trust Your Gut: If something feels off, it probably is. Don’t be pressured into rushed transactions or emotional decisions.
  • Do Your Research: Familiarise yourself with common scams before your trip to Japan.
  • Don’t Carry Excessive Cash: Japan is increasingly moving towards cashless transactions, but if you do carry cash, be mindful of your surroundings.
  • Report Fraudulent Activity: If you encounter a scam, report it to the authorities.

By following these tips, you can ensure a safe and enjoyable experience in Japan. Remember, vigilance is key!

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