Young consumers prone to trouble over information products and crypto-assets (cryptocurrency): they end up with debt instead of profit
- [Case 1]
- When searching a side job on the Internet, I found a site saying "You can earn 20,000,000 yen on the stock market". I was induced to buy information on profitable stocks at 200,000 yen. I said, "I am a student and don't have much money." Then, I was told to make a credit card. I made payment with my new credit card. Unfortunately, I was not able to complete a PC setup which is necessary for estimating stock prices, although I followed instructions. I cannot afford the expensive service, so I want to cancel the contract.
- (man in his 10s)
- [Case 2]
- I was invited by my social media friend to attend a seminar. A lecturer said, "If you turn Japanese yen into crypto-assets and put them into an account of a foreign company, you can earn a high interest." Then, I turned 400,000 yen into crypto-assets and transferred them to a specified account. At a later date, I tried to withdraw the money, but in vain. I want to get back my money with interest.
- (woman in her 20s)
Problems and Advice
More and more young consumers in their 10s and 20s have got in trouble over information products and crypto-assets.
(1) There's no easy way to make money
Some information products sold on the Internet are advertised as know-how to gain a large profit from a side job, investment, gambling, etc. Consumers cannot check the product content before signing a contract. Quite a few consumers found that the content was worthless, contrary to advertisement and prior explanation. In some cases, consumers are made to sign a contract for expensive consulting service and software at a later date.
Crypto-assets are digital data and traded on the Internet. Due to the price volatility, consumers may suffer a big loss when prices drop sharply. In some cases, fraudsters defraud consumers of money on the pretext of investment in crypto-assets. In the case where a consumer invested in crypto-assets after being persuaded by an online friend and later found it was unable to withdraw funds, it is likely that the investment site itself is fictitious. If so, it is difficult to recoup financial loss when a consumer has lost touch with the company and friend concerned.
In any of these cases, do not believe advertisements and sales talks emphasizing lucrative opportunities. Flatly refuse any unnecessary offer, even if persuaded by your friend.
(2) Never borrow money to sign a contract
If you say "I don't have money" to decline an offer, some salespersons induce you to pay a large sum of money with credit card or to use student loan funds. When you want to decline, firmly express your refusal (e.g. "I don't sign a contract.")
(3) Age of adulthood will be 18 in April 2022
When the age of adulthood will be lowered to 18, it is expected that an increasing number of young consumers aged 18 and 19 may face trouble which has been often experienced by those in their 20s. Recognize that there's no easy way to make money and take careful precautions against money making offers and ads.
- "Caution to young consumers No.2: trouble over information products and crypto-assets (cryptocurrency) - debt instead of profit" released on June 3, 2021 (Japanese version)