HomeStoriesThe Idol Autograph Scam That Landed Three People In Jail

The Idol Autograph Scam That Landed Three People In Jail

They earned thousands from this scam.

Can you imagine getting a signed item from your bias, only to find out later on that it’s fake? This nightmare is what happened to hundreds of J-Pop fans in 2013.

Japanese news site Yomiuri Shimbun reported that three people were arrested for a simple but effective idol merchandise scam.

J-Pop groups like Arashi


… and Hey! Say! Jump! were all used in this modus.

Located in the Chiba prefecture, three unnamed members of a family practiced forging signatures off of images they found online. A 51 year-old man, his 40 year-old ex-wife and her 20 year-old daughter produced 3,700 items with fake autographs.

They focused on reproducing as closely as possible the autographs of members from eight popular J-Pop groups at the time. They placed these signatures on merchandise such as posters and albums and listed them on online auctions.

Fans would bid on the items expecting that they were receiving authentic autographs from their favorites. They would send thousands of yen at a time. One of them, for instance, was a woman in her 20s from the Kanagawa Prefecture who sent the trio a total of 8,340 yen for what she thought was the genuine signatures of all the members of Arashi.

Police eventually caught them family when they noticed suspicious behavior in the 20-year old’s bank account. She had 3,300 transactions which totaled to about 6,700,000 yen ($45,000 USD), the amount of which they earned from their scam.

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