Local police in Osaka Prefecture, western Japan have strengthened efforts to seize fake websites, forcing local banks to immediately freeze bank accounts opened by phishing scam operators, local press reported on Wednesday.
The prefectural police's new measure is the first of its kind in Japan, preventing Internet users from accessing commercial websites which allegedly deal in counterfeit consumer items such as fake brand goods, as well as from accessing spoofed websites opened only to steal cash through bank transactions, according to the daily Mainichi Shimbun.
The report cited officials at a special division of the police, the Cyber Crime Control Section, as saying that after initiating the measures about a month ago against suspicious websites, the police have seized a total of 206 bank accounts, frozen with the cooperation of financial institutions.
The report noted that the on-going measure's intent is to promptly offer protection to Internet users -- well before they become victims -- from an increase in fraud committed via accounts opened at commercial banks.
This is because the police usually need considerable time to detect and identify computer servers outside Japan that criminals commonly use.
The Osaka Prefectural Police revealed that 354 cyber crime cases have been so far filed since the beginning of the year. That number is 12 times higher than the one recorded last year, the report added.