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Wave of 'Nigeria letter' fraud hits elderly Swedes

TT/The Local/pvs · 22 Mar 2011, 13:23

Published: 22 Mar 2011 13:23 GMT+01:00

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An increasing number of elderly Swedes have in recent months received letters or e-mails containing offers of imaginary inheritance pay outs. Those falling for the scams have been fooled to part with savings amounting to several million kronor, according to the Swedish police.

"We have seen these frauds in the past but not to the extent that we have now," Commissioner Stig Sandgren at Stockholm City Police said.

Nigerian letters are a form of fraud which originated in Nigeria in the 1970s, but are today often organized from a number of countries.

The elderly Swedes are among those who have sent money to bank accounts in the UK, among other places, with the ill-gotten gains then transferred on to other parts of the world.

Furthermore a number of Swedes have even travelled to England to meet the fraudsters, Sandgren confirmed. At these meetings, the unsuspecting victims were given a look at the money they were due to inherit - often in excess of several millions of dollars.

"They were completely fleeced in England," said Stig Sandgren.

He explained that the victims were fooled into believing that the inheritance was real and were persuaded by the plethora of stamps and official-looking documents.

"But in reality it is all false," he added.

The fraudsters operate in a number of countries, Sandgren said, with Spain and the UK featuring strongly in investigations.

"The men are polished and act under false identities. We don't know who they are."

Story continues below…

Nigeria letters are also known as 'advance-fee fraud' and are a confidence trick where victims are persuaded to forward large sums of money in the hope of receiving a significantly larger sum.

The money is often requested for transaction costs or to pay bribes.

The fraud is also known as '419 fraud' - referring to the article of the Nigerian criminal code dealing with fraud - as well as 'the Spanish prisoner', and the 'black money scam'.

The modern scam is reported to have accelerated in use in connection with the decline of the oil-based Nigerian economy in the 1980s and has expanded globally and in intensity with the widespread use of email.

TT/The Local/pvs (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

14:48 March 22, 2011 by Rishonim
What is a "Hapless Swedes"

And by a number of elderly Swedes are they referring to people 40+?.. I am still shocked that people still fall for these old-school tricks.
15:05 March 22, 2011 by Rizwan Rahim
Hrrrrmmmm...all effected swedes wants easy or free money,tats y they fall into unwanted so called different types of frauds by these well organized fraudsters.which means u guys dont have have faith in "hard earned money"

come on swedes "wake up" and ask ur self will u spent a single Kroner on an unknown person for a FIKA ? then y u want money from an unknown person or y that unknown person give u something free ?.....first, hav a FIKA on ur own money and think for a while...even if ur not sure,then perhaps check for more infor on this type of frauds. http://www.dailymirror.lk/news/10462-missing-swedish-woman-reported.html
15:13 March 22, 2011 by soultraveler3
I'm sorry but the people who fall for scams like this deserve what they get.

This scam has been around for a long time now and regardless of age, people should know better. It's common sense that you don't send strangers money with the hope of getting more money in return. The people that usually fall for this are people who are desperate for money. I feel for them, but at the same time you have to use your head.
15:14 March 22, 2011 by Rizwan Rahim
sorry,the site is http://www.met.police.uk/fraudalert/index.htm
15:19 March 22, 2011 by Tanskalainen
I get these letters on an average of one every two weeks, I usually tell them what to do with an old stick. Elderly women are really vulnerable to these scams because they are lonely and want to believe the best in everyone etc., etc.
15:27 March 22, 2011 by Luckystrike
Got to agree with Soultraveler3. If it seems too good to be true, it probably is...people falling for this scam are idiots.
15:36 March 22, 2011 by hammad674
I can't believe that people still fall for such stupid childish scam, I found such emails and letter almost at alternative days from different names and sources. Some announce you a winner of a large some of money or some told that you are winner of Green card and bla bla. And now they are also using official names such as Microsoft Email or Internet Lottery .... Once person seems to trap they ask for some money for delivery cost to send you the prize. For a sensible person that is enough to understand, that when someone won a huge sum of money, why can't they (Announcer/Sponsors) spent or deduct little money from prize to send that. But I feel Sad for Swede who fall for such scam, and the reason behind this could be, Swedes Simplicity :(
16:10 March 22, 2011 by saraswed
i feel sorry for those dwindled in these ways.i mean they wanted more money and lost money in the process.i get this emails almost very week.

its really clears from the sender and subject are always suspicious.undisclosed client.and yet i have won money and yet you still ask for my name and personal information.who falls for that crap.

also why has nigeria be placed here,there other people who do this who are not nigerians.is someone somewhere using them as scape goat ??
16:59 March 22, 2011 by darky
hehehehehehehehehheehe ! Don't mess with the Nigerians.
17:05 March 22, 2011 by NIgerian!
This is insulting! It is illegal and criminal to speak of a sovereign nation in this manner or attach their name to such! It is against the laws of Sweden and EU yet to show the lawlessness of the owners of thelocal.se, you publish it and also without a name of author. It is wrong and must be desisted! A word is enough for the wise.
17:37 March 22, 2011 by Artificial Intelligence
Hahaha! How I love that Country "Nigeria" You dare not mess with them--Smart people! People responding to those emails are stupid, they deserve what they get! How on earth will someone write you to claim a fund which you know quite well you didn't partake in any deal.
20:18 March 22, 2011 by SimonDMontfort
A famous old mantra - '....if something looks too good to be true - it probably is...'
21:04 March 22, 2011 by jbat
Never ever ever mess with Nigerians... I agree too....
21:06 March 22, 2011 by J Jack
@ Tanskalainen, I think you will be banned from this forum, there is nothing constructive about your comment.
21:09 March 22, 2011 by johnny1939
I have received many of these letters and I think they are quite amusing. What is the likelihood that I would have an inheritance coming from Nigeria anyway? I am surprised that anyone would fall for these anyway they way they are written...they are a hoot. So just snicker and send no money.
21:33 March 22, 2011 by muscle
phew... I used to think how these senders earn money as no one will believe them. well i guess thats how!
23:03 March 22, 2011 by djmarko
Think the victim and the criminal are both guilty in my books!!! how can you expect to win money you never worked for
03:04 March 23, 2011 by technoviking
I used pretend to buy into it and try to string them along for a while. It's fun. Try it.

Eventually you get responses like @Nigerian!'s post in hysterical angry gibberish. Classic.
07:34 March 23, 2011 by virgoman
The fact that many Swedes fail to listen to advice, they'll be falling victims. There's a Swede that's been conned and he's still believing that the whole thing is true. Please can someone tell me, how can you be dating someone on internet without seeing him or her for a year now via webcam and you keep chatting with her?

I was in Nigeria when I heard he was at the airport waiting for his so called girlfriend to land in Sweden but all to no avail. Now this weekend, the ol' fool is about going to the airport again waiting...... The fact is if care is not taken, someone that thinks he/she is smart will fall simply to this guys. Mind you, believe it or not, the guys in the business goes extra miles in attracting their victims. Call it Voodoo or whatever, but it's true. The act of defrauding others itself is bad but as a good Nigerian I will advise not only the old Swedes but the young that should such e-mail be recieved, there's no need of neither opening nor reading such orelse, you may be the next victim.
09:31 March 23, 2011 by bolababu
this scam evolved from Nigeria many years ago, these days, it is practiced even more by many other Nationals. Only greedy people fall for it.

@Tanskalainen; you are the town-fool as usual.
10:52 March 23, 2011 by Morenikeji
I have enjoyed the readers' comments on this article than even the article itself. It is a given that those who want to harvest where they have never planted should expect failure most of the time. I have no sympathy for crooked victims. But my concern is why the Nigerian Mission in Sweden has not protested the use of their country's name as a prefix to a fraudulent activity. Even if the argument that this kind of activity originated in Nigeria was true, it is now agreed that not every fraudulent letter comes from Nigeria. There have been notable personalities caught in this act, one example is Ed Mezvinsky (Chelsea Clinton's father-in-law) who pleaded guilty in 2002 to swindling dozens of investors out of $10 million and served five years in prison. He was an American Congress man. Again the fact that the first recorded holocaust in modern history took place in Germany has not created a "German act" phrase to describe every case of holocaust.
14:15 March 23, 2011 by RobinHood
After typing this post, I am going to give myself a Brazilian, indulge in some French kissing with my wife, armed with a packet of French letters for later. Fear not, there will be no Greek. Maybe after, I will give her a Dutch oven, or even a playful Chinese burn. I will recover my strength with a light Greek salad and watch my favourite bank heist movie starring Michael Caine and lots of Minis; Zulu.
00:13 March 24, 2011 by Tanskalainen
@bolababu I tend to over-react. It is a character flaw of mine. Just ask the Australians (I pissed them off recently).
08:49 March 24, 2011 by the fonz
Nothing for Nothing - Simples!
13:17 March 25, 2011 by prince T
I am uncomfortable calling this fraud Nigeriabrev. I think the Nigerian embassy in Sweden should protest, it can never happen in England and US where the crime is rampant. I have Nigerian friends that are hardworking, honest and law abiding.

Should the Americans call it Swedish fraud OR Swedishbrev judging by the news of swedes defrauding americans with swedish roots in Minesota US.
19:12 June 10, 2011 by DJECKY
Those who pay money to recieve huge sums ,when they know fully well that they did not work for it should be arested by the police and sentenced for comiting and promoting fraud and double dealing (419)If you want to take from where you did not keep means you are a big thief.as such you should be punished sevierely

That tells me that the elderly sweds are MUGOS.big time junks,fools,idiots.shame to them.
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