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Scams you should avoid when buying things from Japan.

When you get things from Japan, there is a very low possibility that you will be scammed. It is among the safest countries in the world, but there are still bad people in this land.

Basically these are the types of scammers

  1. The online shopping scam (website)

  2. The seller scam

We are going to talk about the those scams one by one.

1. The online shopping scam (website)

Scammers build a lot of websites recently. But don't worry, after analysis those websites, we found some clues that help us to figure out it that website is a suspicious.

Fake/scam websites tends to:

  • Use only “bank transfer” as the payment methods (as they can be easily banned by credit cards or PayPal). Usually the name of the recipient is not a company name.

  • Use credit cards as the payment method, but contact the buyer after few days regarding “change the payment method to bank transfer due to temporary technical issues”

  • Steal pictures from MERCARI, Yahoo Auction etc. (as they don’t have any products)

  • Steal info like address or phone number from other companies

  • Cheaper than the market price without a solid reason (as there is no need for them to send things out)

  • Use strange Japanese language (as they are Chinese or Vietnamese scammers)

  • Use strange

  • Use minor domains like .xyz, .bid, .top, .space, .today, .online, .icu, .net, .club, .store, .shop, .site etc.

  • Use “free email account” like,,,,

  • Do not have a phone number (as there are none)

  • Copy phone numbers from other companies (google it, and you might discover something fishy)

  • Do not have an address or put a fake address (you can use street view at google map, and see if the “house” in that address can be the office that has 1000 employers)

Some examples of scam websites in Japan.

Most of them are not available anymore, as scammers will just build other websites with other concepts.

Some of the fake pages that are still running now

Some even try to copy the whole website from certain brands, and change only the URL address. So, look at the URL address carefully every time before you make an order.

2. The seller scam. They use platform like Yahoo Auction or MERCARI to cheat people

Here are some of the techniques that the seller at Yahoo Auction etc. will use

  • Selling the pictures/box scam

    • Technique: The seller will list an item of an expensive item, but it will explain in the last part of the description that the item listed is a “photo” or “only the box” of that item.

    • Phrase in Japanese:「※写真の販売です」「※外箱のみの販売です」

  • Selling “part” of the items in the pictures scam

    • Technique: The seller will post pictures for multiple items, and the price tag is for “one”. This happens a lot in MERCARI.

    • Commonly used for small items with series, like pokemon cards, Korean idol trading cards,

  • Fake items

    • Some of the popular fake items in the market in Japan are

      1. Airpods,

      2. Luxury brands like Louis Vuitton, HERMES, GUCCI, CHANEL, ROLEX, Moncler, CHROME HEARTS, RALPH LAUREN, DIOR etc

      3. Clothes brands like Supreme, Champion, GIVENCHY, BAPE etc.

      4. Photo cards for idols etc.

  • The pre-order scam

    • Many websites like MERCARI, Yahoo Auction etc ban sellers from selling things that they DON’T have. If you know that item is launch next week, then don’t buy from reseller who are listing them

  • The overseas seller scam

    • If you are buying on a website in Japan, even in Yahoo Auction, sometimes they will mention that they are shipping from outside Japan to Japan. Avoid those sellers, you might get a fake, or a bad quality item most of the cases.

To avoid scam, you should avoid sellers with

  • Bad reviews

  • Less than 10 reviews

  • Not natural reviews with only transaction for items below 100yen (Scammers try to create fake transaction/reviews in yahoo Auction by selling cheap item within the scammer group before selling expensive items to scam people)

Good luck!

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