Swedish pensioner charged with ‘Nigeria Letter’ scam

Wednesday saw the start of the trial against a 67-year-old Swedish woman who is charged with having swindled 3.4 million kronor ($517,000) from friends with the help of so called "Nigeria Letters".

Swedish pensioner charged with 'Nigeria Letter' scam

According to the prosecutor, the Swedish woman claimed to have inherited money from relatives in the US and UK. But she told her friends that in order to be able to collect this inheritance she needed cash, which she promised to pay back to the loan givers with interest.

The woman also allegedly claimed to have money stashed away in a number of Nigerian bank accounts, but needed deposit money in order to make a withdrawal from these.

But neither inheritance nor money from Nigeria ever came. And according to the prosecution her friends never saw a penny of the loan money again.

So called “Nigeria letters” are also known as “advance-fee fraud” and are a known confidence trick where victims are persuaded to forward large sums of money in the hope of receiving a significantly larger sum at a later date.

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

Apart from scamming her friends he woman is also charged with having fooled a Christian TV channel to part with a sum of 50,000 kronor.

But according to the woman’s defence lawyer Karin Amédro the woman denies the allegations.

“She has every intention to pay back the money she owes. She has not asked to borrow these under false pretences,” Amédro said to daily Aftonbladet.

Amédro added that the woman completely denies having received money from the TV network and that she claims the prosecution has exaggerated the sums owed to her friends.

The trial was supposed to have started in May but as the date for the opening of the procedures drew near the woman went underground.

Police finally apprehended her at the end of last month, according to Aftonbladet.

The trial started on Wednesday and will go on for nine days.

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‘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.