“In one clothes shop they made so many purchases that they were asked to pose for a photo as ‘VIP customers' when they returned to buy some more. Which they also did, although reluctantly,” said prosecutor Håkan Johansson to news agency TT.
The three people, of which two were based full time in Borås and one in the UK, were using skimmed cards that belonged to people in Egypt, the US, Australia and other countries far from Sweden.
Skimming is the theft of credit card information in an otherwise legitimate transaction.
The thief steals the victim's credit card number by photocopying receipts or using more advanced methods like swiping and storing hundreds of victims' credit card numbers using a small electronic device called a “skimmer”.
The card details are then used in transactions somewhere else in the world, generally far away from where they were stolen.
With the card details the gang bought products for a value up to half a million kronor and tried for even more. There was also some contact with the criminal world as some of the products were sold for cash.
But according to Johansson, the perpetrators also used the hi-jacked card details to carry out everyday purchases such as filling up their cars with petrol and eating out in fast food outlets or Chinese restaurants.
“And the shop trolleys were always full; with five types of salmon, diapers and baby formula,” said Johansson to TT.