How Japan is leveraging AI to tackle the Menace of Cyber Frauds

Fujitsu, Toyo University Incorporated Educational Institution (Toyo University), and Amagasaki City have launched Japan’s first joint research project leveraging converging technologies that combine AI techniques and psychological research into the emotional state of victims of phone fraud and other scams.

Toyo University is one of Japan’s comprehensive universities with many specialized academic fields, and more than 30,000 students. The objective of the joint research will be the development of an AI model capable of detecting various types of phone fraud, contributing to the prevention of scams that target senior citizens and other vulnerable populations. Based on data and insights gained during these initial trials, the three parties will conduct further verification trials in the first half of fiscal 2022 to determine the accuracy of Fujitsu’s AI model for phone fraud detection.

In Amagasaki City alone, damages from phone fraud in 2021 amounted to approximately 97 million yen (about 830,000 USD). To tackle this problem and design new tools to combat fraud, from March 30 to March 31, 2022 the three parties will conduct simulations of realistic fraud scenarios in field trials with senior citizens from Amagasaki City, leveraging Fujitsu’s human sensing technology to detect changes in human emotions in tandem with a methodology to measure and scale human emotions developed by Toyo University.

Mayor Kazumi Inamura of Amagasaki City said:

Since fiscal 2018, Amagasaki City has been tackling phone fraud in cooperation with the Hyogo Prefectural Police Headquarters and other organizations. We hope that this joint research will lead to the prevention of phone frauds not only in this city, but also all over Japan.

Professor Masayuki Kiriu, Department of Social Psychology, Faculty of Sociology, Toyo University commented:

The field trials will focus on the relationship between perpetrators and victims of phone scams and offer more concrete and effective fraud prevention measures. This project focuses specifically on the emotional and physical changes of victims, which is a field where research has not made much progress to date, with the goal of realizing an AI technology that can intervene to prevent phone fraud. We can call this an unprecedented and empathetic approach to dealing with phone fraud that places special emphasis on the feelings of victims.

Innovation to combat a growing social problem

According to the Japanese National Police Agency, senior citizens aged 65 or older accounted for 88.2 per cent of reported phone fraud cases in Japan in 2021, highlighting the vulnerability of this age group to phone frauds. While special fraud-prevention campaigns to deepen collaboration between anti-crime organizations and the police to strengthen patrols at ATMs, etc., the damage caused by phone fraud in Amagasaki City alone in 2021 amounted to approx. 97 million yen (approx. 831,000 USD) for 102 reported cases that year.

Amidst the growing number of people over 65 in Japan and many parts of the world this problem represents an increasingly urgent priority. To address this, Fujitsu, Toyo University and Amagasaki City started joint research toward the development of an AI model that detects phone fraud with high accuracy, leveraging technologies that combine Fujitsu’s AI based sensing technology and Toyo University’s research results on psychology and the emotional state of victims of criminal incidents.

Future Plans

Focusing on the needs and challenges of a rapidly ageing society, the three parties aim to develop an AI model that is able to protect possible victims from increasingly complex and sophisticated phone scams and ultimately contribute to a safer society. Daiki Masumoto, Fellow, SVP, Head of Advanced Converging Technologies Laboratories, Fujitsu Research, Fujitsu Limited said:

We were impressed by the advanced initiatives of Amagasaki City to protect senior citizens from phone fraud, as well as Professor Kiriu’s long history of activities to prevent such frauds. This is one reason why we are researching converging technologies that combine knowledge from different fields. Using this research as a starting point, we aim to realize a sustainable society where elderly people can live safely and securely.

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