Recently, citizens have received emails from officials of Japan's Tottori prefecture providing travel subsidies in return for a small up-front handling fee. It has been confirmed that this a phishing scam and the public has been advised to remain vigilant over this kind of email fraud.
These are photos of the Tottori Sand Dunes, one of the famous attractions in the Tottori Prefecture in Japan. The beauty formed by nature's artwork of sand and wind attracts crowds every year. However, someone has been trying to defraud Taiwanese nationals under the name of the "Tottori Prefecture Tourism Bureau". The scam typically involves promising the victim travel subsidies, in return for a small up-front handling fee.
This is actually a new type of scam. After investigations via our overseas office, we can confirm that the so-called plan, subsidy and names of the relevant employees are all made-up. They don't exist.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs said this is a new scam where the scammer had pretended to be officials from the Tottori government. These email scams usually states that subsidies will be given for trips to the Tottori Prefecture once handling fees have been paid. To make it even more convincing, it even had a plan attached. The real Tottori government has proactively informed Taiwan about this fraud scheme, and clarified that there has been no such plan. Travel agencies also say, that although Japan does often offer subsidies, it is nearly always through travel agencies or hotels.
He is giving you a subsidy, yet he still needs a relevant representative contact, and he needs someone to confirm and certify and then help you to apply? I think for consumers, you need to have a basic understanding, that when he is focused on you personally and asking you to pay first then that's a warning sign.
I think I will first pay a visit to the Tourism Bureau to confirm whether this is real.
Most of the public said that if they have to pay handling fees first, they will feel wary. Meanwhile, industry professionals said that although Tottori Prefecture is a travel destination, but as its logistics are not as convenient as other destinations, there are relatively fewer travelers. Due to this reason, it is harder for Taiwanese nationals to verify information regarding Tottori, and they think this could be the reason as to why the scammer chose Tottori as the facade of their scam.