Student record

Osaka man arrested after impersonating student to take online job test for cash

The headquarters of the Metropolitan Police Department can be seen in this file photo. (Mainichi/Kenji Yoneda)

OSAKA — A 28-year-old corporate employee in Japan was arrested Nov. 21 for allegedly pretending to be a college student to take an online employment test, the Mainichi Shimbun has learned from investigative sources.

The Metropolitan Police Department’s Cybercrime Division has arrested Osaka City resident Nobuto Tanaka on suspicion of illegally producing and using a private electromagnetic recording. Police also plan to send documents to prosecutors Nov. 22 about a fourth-year university student in her 20s, who asked her to take the test, on the same charge.

Online testing has been introduced by many companies as part of the hiring process amid the coronavirus pandemic. Meanwhile, there have been a number of Twitter posts by impostors advertising themselves, and exam cheating has been recognized as a problem. This is apparently the first arrest in Japan for such a case.

According to investigative sources, in the specific case for which he was arrested, Tanaka is accused of pretending to be the student looking for a job after she asked him to take an employment test. online for a large company in Tokyo in April. The student paid him several thousand yen (tens of dollars) as a reward. Tanaka reportedly acknowledged the allegations.

Tanaka searched for customers on Twitter by posting messages such as “Alumnus of Kyoto University Graduate School. Four years of experience as an online fake tester. A total of more than 4,000 tests. Rate over 95%” and “4,000 yen (about $28) for two subjects.”

The student asked Tanaka to take tests for 23 companies, including a large trading company and a credit card company, and gave her usernames and passwords to take the exams over the Internet. She apparently passed most of the online screenings she asked the suspect to go through and reached the final interview at one of the companies, but pulled out after the incident came to light.

Many companies take steps to prevent exam fraud, such as using a system to monitor candidates. However, Tanaka and the student apparently shared the computer screen remotely, and he taught her the correct answers via wireless headphones.

The suspect reportedly took tests for some 300 students between January and July this year and accepted a total of around 4 million yen (about $28,000).

A growing number of companies are asking job applicants to take online aptitude tests to judge their abilities and personality from home amid the coronavirus pandemic. Many companies have introduced the process to limit job seekers to interview, and some companies would test them when they submit the application documents. Tests include those examining thinking skills as well as logic and personality.

(Japanese original by Hitomi Takai, Tokyo City News Department)