Swedish fraud figures double: report

The number fraud cases reported in Sweden has doubled in the past ten years, with people born outside of Sweden among those most often targeted, according to new statistics.

Last year there were 115,000 reported cases of fraud in Sweden, with foreigners, single parents, and high school dropouts most often targeted by scams, according to research from Sweden’s National Council on Crime Prevention (Brottsförebyggande rådet – Brå).

However, police were only able to connect a suspect to the fraud claims in 16 percent of the cases.

Last year alone, three percent of Swedes were tricked out of money or valuables by scammers, according to the crime prevention council.

This figure corresponds with roughly 216,000 adults; with 4 percent of the cases involving losses of more than 100,000 kronor ($14,219).

However, the majority of victims are tricked out of somewhere between two and ten thousand kronor.

Johanna Hagstedt, investigator at Brå, explained that the crimes are hard to solve due to the sheer spread of data online.

“The big problem is that you can use the internet to send out 400 emails which can give 400 police reports. But if the police don’t find any suspected perpetrators it’s difficult to solve,” she told the Svenska Dagbladet newspaper (SvD).

Meanwhile, Swedish prosecutor Hans Ihrman explains that the criminals, are often very verbally competent, and can make victims feel stupid as they are being duped.

“The scammers are often polite and verbal people,” he explained.

“I am a little cynical now, but if the court can identify with a suspect and if that person appears to be the sort of person one would normally hang around with, one listens more to what that person says than one would listen to, say, a Russian pimp.”

Of the 8,000 suspected fraudsters in Sweden last year, the statistics show that only 21 percent were women, a fact that was unsurprising to prosecutors.

“No one thinks that a blonde, who on the surface is a pleasant woman, could be an economic crook,” Swedish lawyer Mats Österholm told the paper.

TT/The Local/og

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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.