Crisis prompts spike in financial crime reports

If a recent increase in suspected cases of wrongdoing is any guide, it appears as if perpetrators of financial crimes in Sweden have no plans to let up due to the financial crisis.

The number of reported cases of possible financial crimes so far this year has already exceeded the record set in 2007.

After several years of steadily increasing complaints of market manipulation and similar crimes, officials observed earlier this year what they thought was a slight leveling off in the number of cases.

But the financial crisis has dashed any hopes that market actors’ moral compasses had somehow been reset.

Through last Friday, Sweden’s Financial Supervisory Authority (Finansinspektionen) had sent 215 reports of suspected criminal activity to the National Economic Crimes Bureau (Ekobrottsmyndigheten).

That means it only took ten months for the tally to top last year’s record of 191 cases.

“Since the end of the summer there’s been a noticeable increase and we’ve received quite a number of reports,” said Finansinspektionen’s head of market supervision, Linda Hedvall, to the TT news agency.

She explained that the increase has occurred at the same time the financial crisis has escalated and spread throughout the world.

Moreover, the crisis itself may be one of the explanations for the recent spike in the number of reported cases.


‘Discount’ phone scammers steal thousands from elderly woman in Sweden

A 75-year-old woman in the Håbo municipality lost over 120,000 kronor (11,200 euros) on Friday after falling victim to a telephone scam.

'Discount' phone scammers steal thousands from elderly woman in Sweden
File photo: Anders Wiklund/ TT

The woman received a phone around lunchtime on Friday from a man who claimed he was calling from a telecommunications operator.

Following a method similar to others seen in telephone scams which target the elderly, the man is reported to have informed the woman that she had unused discounts and was required to log on to her online banking in order to activate them.

“He must have been persuasive, given that he convinced her to log on to her online bank,” Uppsala Police press spokesperson Linda Wideberg told Radio P4 Uppland, who reported the scam.

The incident is now being investigated as fraud, police said.

Other recent scams in Sweden have seen fake emails and text messages which purport to be from the Skatteverket tax authority. 

“Skatteverket will never ask for your account details via email or text message,” the tax agency said in a statement in June this year.