Japanese man loses more than $700,000 in 'romance scam'

A man in southwestern Japan has lost about 110 million yen, or roughly 730,000 dollars, after falling victim to a so-called romance scam.

Police say the man is in his 60s and lives in northern Kumamoto Prefecture. They revealed that he was told by someone posing as a woman on a matchmaking app that there was a way to increase his money. The man reportedly transferred cash to a designated account about 20 times.

Investigative sources say his relatives became suspicious and, together with the victim, consulted the police on Wednesday last week. The sources say contact with the individual on the app was lost.

Investigators are treating the case as a romance scam, where scammers hint at marriage or relationships on social media or elsewhere, then swindle money from their victims.

The police say they have received reports of similar cases in Kumamoto Prefecture this year and are urging people to be careful.

They advise people not to readily trust investment proposals on social media and to speak to family members or police if discussions about money arise.