E-money fraudsters target NTT Docomo

Police in Japan face a growing trend in crimes targeting cashless payments. Regional banks in the past week have reported a series of frauds using stolen bank details linked with the e-money service of mobile carrier NTT Docomo.

As of Wednesday evening, 10 regional banks in Japan had reported suspicious cash withdrawals.

Michinoku Bank in northern Japan says 300,000 yen, or about 2,800 dollars, was improperly withdrawn from one account.

Tottori Bank in western Japan says several hundreds of thousands of yen have been unlawfully withdrawn in a number of cases.

Users of e-money apps must register their personal and bank information. But unlike savings accounts held at banks, the apps require only an email address for ID confirmation.

Docomo officials believe the perpetrators illegally obtained bank account numbers and other information from victims to register for e-money apps.

They then used the victims' bank data to transfer cash to the mobile accounts.

E-money frauds have risen sharply in Japan amid a boom in internet banking.

The National Police Agency says cases of illicit withdrawals from online accounts totaled 1,872 last year.

Financial losses were around 24 million dollars, or about 5-and-a-half times more than the previous year.