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Tuesday, April 12, 2005


Credit card fraud, bike attacks and clothes swap

More on accidents

Last month, two people in different parts of Tokyo -- teacher Kristin Newton (who had to use a cane for three weeks) and natural healer/nutritionist Daniel Babu (still suffering headaches) -- were hit by bikes ridden by Japanese teenagers who then fled.

Kristin now reports that a student (a foreign woman) was knocked over by a car and lay unconscious for some time before coming round; no-one came to check or offer help.

"Not so long after," reports Kristin, "a Japanese woman riding a bike grazed my side as she rode past. What's going on?"

Maybe something, maybe nothing. These may well be random -- if synchronistic -- events. Apparently 20,150 bicycle-related accidents, with more than 60 fatalities, occurred in Osaka Prefecture alone last year, according to Osaka prefectural police statistics -- an increase of 40 per cent from 1995.

Tokyo is no better, so best to take extra care, just in case.

Online airfares

Shaney just learned about a con that is tricking people into giving credit card details under the guise of booking extremely cheap flights.

"I thought list members of frugaljapan@yahoogroups.com and anyone else who might be affected might like to know," she writes.

The Travel Services Office, Office of Contracting, alerts us all to the following airline ticketing Internet Web sites that have so far been identified to be scams: www.BusySky.net www.CheapClouds.com www.CrazyTickets.net www.SubmitPrice.net

Such sites attract customers by undercutting airline ticket prices offered elsewhere. They capture your credit card information, including account number, expiration date, and CVV (an antifraud security feature). The customer receives a message stating that the credit card transaction has been declined, followed by instructions to wire funds for payment of the tickets.

This scam is quite clever in that unlike the usual phishing scam, they have not initiated the contact; the customer has by doing a Web search for the best ticket prices. This creates a false perception of legitimacy.

If successful, they will have obtained the customers' credit card information, the customers' funds and deposit account information.

Clothing swap

Laura writes to let us know of a clothing swap that'll be taking place in Tokyo on April 17.

The event is designed for women who want to donate clothes and money to a good cause but are unsure of where to go.

Visitors can bring their clean clothes that they no longer want, add them to the pile of treasures and feel free to try on and take as many items there as they like.

The last event in December generated several bags of clothing for donation and every one of the 65 women went home with something new for their wardrobe.

All items will be accepted but should be in clean condition. There will be a maternity wear corner.

The event will take place on Sunday, April 17 at Cozmos Cafe in Shibuya from 3-6 p.m. The entrance fee is 2,000 yen, which includes one drink, and a 500 yen bar list will be available. A map for Cozmos can be found at www.cozmoscafe.com

Remaining clothing will be donated to the Salvation Army, Saalaa Women's shelter, and Goonj (a charity based in India).

The organizers also welcome any charity or embassy in need of clothing to contact them for clothing donations.

Money raised from the door will go to Oxfam Japan, HELP (a Tokyo based women's shelter), and the Red Cross (tsunami victims).

For more information, those interested can send an e-mail to your_clothes_friend@hotmail.com

Send your queries, questions, problems and posers to lifelines@japantimes.co.jp

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