• Sweden's news in English

Swedish women warned off dating 'US men' online

The Local · 12 Feb 2013, 10:20

Published: 12 Feb 2013 10:20 GMT+01:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Sara, a 37-year-old woman from Gothenburg, thought she was in love with a US engineer based in New York.

After she came into contact with the smooth-talking man on popular Swedish dating site HappyPancake, she fell head over heels for his sweet messages and constant emails.

Even though the man refused to show his face online and didn't speak with an American accent, she didn't even consider that the engineer who had stolen her heart was actually building a trap.

"He was really romantic compared to Swedish men. I woke up every morning with a message from him saying 'Hello sweety, missing you' or 'Thinking of you'. And he signed off every mail with 'Yours forever'," Sara told the Expressen newspaper.

She even sent him 2,000 kronor ($312) when he claimed his credit cards wouldn't work and was in need of cash quickly.

When the pair finally decided to meet in Stockholm, Sara booked a hotel room and was excited to finally meet her mystery man.

He had even sent a copy of his flight ticket, with the departure location marked as Lagos, Nigeria. He claimed he was building a luxury hotel in the west-African city.

When the day of the flight came, the conman told the Swede that he had got stuck at the airport and needed 13,000 kronor to pay his Basic Travel Allowance before he was allowed to fly.

Sara rushed to the bank, but was refused a loan.

Her online lover told her he could wait until the next day, while the woman found a way to lend him the money. However, the Swedish woman instead did some research into the Basic Travel Allowance and found that all signs pointed to a scam.

Websites warned that a BTA was a made-up term used by scammers and fraudsters trying to squeeze money out of desperate victims.

"It was like someone poured a bucket of cold water over me," she said.

"I felt completely abused. I'd even sent pictures and shared my thoughts and dreams. Now I realized that the man in the pictures had nothing to do with it and that I had fallen for a Nigerian fraud."

While Sara may have only lost 2,000 kronor, some dignity, and a potential American husband, she is not the only person to have come in contact with a heartbreaking hoaxer.

Swedish dating site HappyPancake has since warned users of the risks involved with online dating.

"We're giving even clearer information and are warning for such instances of fraud. We are going to make a new menu tab that we'll label 'safety'," Sebastian Malmberg, head of marketing at HappyPancake, told the paper.

In fact, the trend of fraudsters claiming to be US soldiers is becoming so popular that the United States Army Criminal Investigation Command has issued a warning.

"Army CID is warning anyone who is involved in online dating to proceed with caution when corresponding with persons claiming to be US Soldiers currently serving in Iraq, Afghanistan or elsewhere," they wrote on their website.

The Command claims to receive hundreds of reports each month from people who have met fictitious soldiers from legitimate dating websites.

They warn to be extremely suspicious at all times, to never send money, and to be highly cautious of anyone who "who pledges their love at warp speed".

Story continues below…

The Command also adds to look for common grammar and spelling errors as this can be a clear sign that the person is not a native speaker.

Back in Gothenburg, Sara herself can only warn other love-struck Swedes to be more cautious that she was.

"I want to warn others. If you meet a foreign person on a dating website you should look them up, ask them for a telephone number and contact details," she told Expressen.

"Words like BTA or Nigeria should ring alarm bells. And it's important to have a web camera when you're chatting."

TT/The Local/og

Follow The Local on Twitter

The Local (news@thelocal.se)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

11:31 February 12, 2013 by Shazzer
Another deceiving headline from The Local ... this time making it appear as though American men are particularly dangerous to date online. The article is about the latest variation of the Nigerian 419 Scam in which someone *posed as an American man* to con a gullible lovelorn Swede out of her money. Sheesh.
11:43 February 12, 2013 by naimad
No face to face communication and no american accent, she still sent money abroad. How dumb can she be??
11:55 February 12, 2013 by Rishonim
Highly misleading headline as the problem has nothing to do with Americans but rather with fraudsters pretending to be Americans. How stupid can someone be to send money to a perfect stranger you chat online with.. Seriously! Are you really that desperate??????

"He was really romantic compared to Swedish men. That's an understatement!.. Even a possum is more romantic than Swedish men. I frankly don't know how they manage..

The Command also adds to look for common grammar and spelling errors as this can be a clear sign that the person is not a native speaker. Well, The official language of Nigeria is English and they are brilliant at writing.
11:59 February 12, 2013 by wallpaper
add to the list housing scam and also those who hack into your friends email and send an email that hej I have been on holidays and I got rubbed send me some money to this account asap

once you are online look at everything suspiciously
12:17 February 12, 2013 by Reason and Realism
They should connect all the male scammers who pretend to be American men to all the men in Russia (sometimes called 'Harry Borises') who operate dating profiles to pretend to be female Russian super models, and then see who can scam the other into sending money first.
12:43 February 12, 2013 by allnotmoney
i dont think a swede can buy you a cup of coffee,but they can send money to Nigeria.not funny but very funny
12:51 February 12, 2013 by unbloblo
it is hard to buy a coffee for a friend here in Sweden, but easy to send money to Nigeria,the smartest black race
12:58 February 12, 2013 by SinnerNick
It still amazes me how dumb some people can be. Never seen a picture of someone and sending them money now!

Some people clearly shouldn't be online.
13:39 February 12, 2013 by stabbull
well we all know this stuff exists, only a desperate person falls to such traps. If she was so dumb to fall, she should be so ashamed to tell the story.
13:52 February 12, 2013 by fikatid
"...Even though the man refused to show his face online and didn't speak with an American accent, she didn't even consider that the engineer who had stolen her heart was actually building a trap..."

Evolution is working just fine.
13:58 February 12, 2013 by newsjerseyballs
Wow, she must be a real horror show to look at. And a real bright thinker too. See, the chicks here are so hot that slobs like this one have to do retarded stuff just to try to get their little skids greased. And they wind up getting screwed. And not the way she was hoping either. HA. Get it? Screwed.
14:04 February 12, 2013 by EP
How daft and naive do you have to be?!?!? ...
14:20 February 12, 2013 by Norrlands Turk
Good job in advertising this new dating site The Local!...
14:20 February 12, 2013 by djmarko
hmm, dont know what to make of this, in such a frugal society, one still manages to give away their money to someone they met online, how stupid, thought at least these scams were a thing of the past, they have been highlighted several times, if its too good to be true, it probably is a scam, well she is lucky, she only gave away 2,000 krona, some have been left penniless!! sold their property just because a man said he loved them !!!!
14:21 February 12, 2013 by Migga
Ah yes she`s dumb but when she is talking about how unromantic the swedish men are then you agree with her and think she`s smart.
14:26 February 12, 2013 by InterceptorZone
no comment
14:40 February 12, 2013 by muscle
seriously ? people still fall for this ?
15:11 February 12, 2013 by Svensksmith
I am American man looking for love. Please send me credit card numbers. Here is link to my picture: www.googlebradpittimage. I love you!
15:41 February 12, 2013 by InterceptorZone
in the meanwhile still believe if someone looking non blond living in Sweden, tries to tell her "I love you" (he could mean it for real).. she would freak out and pretend to have forgotten all her English skills. Pathetic!
16:15 February 12, 2013 by Smartone
@ InterceptorZone: I appreciate your wicked observation! Similarly, she would have never said Hej to her non blonde neighbor neither would have let him to do that. How vulnerable is that she fell in love to an unseen American who lives in New York? Go out for a walk and get some fresh air!
16:41 February 12, 2013 by Cage
LOL @ this story. It sounds fake. PLease note the source is Expressen, which is just a tabloid masquerading as a daily newspaper.

The Local staff are using a provocative headline to draw us in, a good technique when followed by good solid reporting but if you use a provocative headline and then have a flimsy story under it you will only begin to lose your readership. English speaking expatriates are looking for reliable and trustworthy news sources,not translated tabloid stories. Respect your base.
19:03 February 12, 2013 by born2die
Funny, but it happened.
19:13 February 12, 2013 by Juniorr
I have two observations as a journalist: first the headline is misleading. You cannot put a whole nation at limbo for one thing connected to her; and secondly, the woman is naive..
19:57 February 12, 2013 by viking87
lol this girl is completely brainless.

I don't understand the swedish girls' passion for the USA or US men in general. It seems like this is a magical word for them.

She probably deserves her unlucky affair.
20:49 February 12, 2013 by shuchomouf
Hello there. me am a very wealthy American bidnissman from de united states o' american. me am way no Nigerium an' me haz no way never b'in ta no Nigeria. me do no way haz no bones in mah nose an' no plates in mah lip. Ya sees. me iz very interested in meetin a plump white Swedish girl wif a fat juicy ass. Mmmm….fatass. me iz very rich an' meh iz bilding a grate big hotel in um um um…Norf Dakota. Dat's rite. not no Nigeria ya sees. Oh no. Norf Dakota where there ain't no brothers at all an' no Nigeriums neethuh. So pleez send me lots o' munee so me kan come visit yo juicy fatass. Ya seez, all mah munee iz tied up in da hotel in Norf Dakota. Not no Nigeria. Oohoohooh.
20:56 February 12, 2013 by foxpur
Hehe, Being an American living in Sweden I can say that it has less to do with being American and more to do with wanting to go to American.
21:23 February 12, 2013 by Fascist Killer
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
22:16 February 12, 2013 by godnatt
These Nigerians deserve every penny they get for the laughs they supply with these stories...

And they just keep pulling it off.
22:55 February 12, 2013 by polartwist
shuchomouf: your comment is amazing! I was really close to fall from the chair :D

Sad but true, it's really hard to even lock eyes with a Swedish girl and this genius managed to receive money! Respect.
00:41 February 13, 2013 by peterrkj
Shuchomouf just pointing out Nigeria's official and main language is English unless your mocking the fact that most Americans can't spell properly which is true.
03:17 February 13, 2013 by Enjoyourlife
Nigeria! Leaders in 419 industry. How can i contact this woman? My brother is single and searching.
08:06 February 13, 2013 by salalah
# 3: Even a possum is more romantic than Swedish men - LOL!!!!

# 25 & 31 LOL!!!!

You guys are hilarious!!!

Thank you Local for allowing "anonymous" comments!!!
11:17 February 13, 2013 by born2die
It seem like unrealistic, but it's happened.
13:09 February 13, 2013 by soultraveler3
Agree with the others saying this article has a very stupid headline.

Made it sound like actual Americans were doing something dangerous to Swedish women. The article however, makes it very clear that these are just stupid, naive, women that have fallen for one of the oldest scams online. It has nothing to do with Americans.

Honestly, I don't feel the least bit sorry for people that fall for this kind of stuff.
13:52 February 13, 2013 by mudboneclone
Nigerian: Wazzup, i be a chimpan-z at da zoo. I is not no Nigerium. I reelly reelly is a chimpan-z not a nigerium so dere ain't no reeson to worry. I kan proov dat I be a chimpan-z at the zoo becoz I iz up in a tree eetin a banana. If I was a Nigerium I would be on da kompooter tryin to skrew sum dum ho outa all her munee. So now dat I has prooved I is a chimpan-z, pleez send me all yo munee yoo dum ho.

Swedish Woman: Ooh, jag älskar champanzees. There so snygg. I hope you're not really a Nigerian con artist who is just pretending to be a chimpanzee. Of course I will send you all my money Mr Chimpanzee if you promise to see beneath all this fat and love me for who I really am.
13:54 February 13, 2013 by cogito
@ peterrkj (#30) who writes:

"... unless your mocking the fact that most Americans can't spell properly ...."

Errr. Nor can you. Your=possessive case; You're=you are.

But perhaps you learned English in British schools.
14:54 February 13, 2013 by ragdoll
@mudboneclone - hysterical

Maybe the Local's brilliant new headline should be "Swedish Women Warned Off Dating Chimpanzees Online."
21:45 February 13, 2013 by Freefellas147
ahhhahahahhaa, I am not a Nigerian but i have meet most of them good and bad. I bet this is not a Nigerian scam he would never had mention nigeria in all the scenerio. very intresting.
07:36 February 14, 2013 by Marc the Texan
So no actual warning against dating Nigerians though.
10:01 February 15, 2013 by martin8558
I an American I met my Swedish Wife on-line years ago to this day (15/02/2013 ) and I have to say this headline is mis- leading stating that be careful of dating US men on-line it should read to be caution of on-line dating of men posing as Americans it does not take a brains to realize that you need to be Leary of all on-line dating from both sexes if you can visually see the person on-line or Skype phone that normally its not true with that being said most of online dating that end in fraud or from foreigners from outside the US trying to fraud Americans
12:08 February 16, 2013 by tooclose
I am a business man and I always hear about the Nigerian Internet Fraud. Lately I had a business transaction with Nigerian person where I insisted to get my payment to be transferred to me in advance for the goods I am selling.

Later on, I had to meet the Nigerian customer, who turned to be the most intellegent, respectful and most classy person I ever met. I got a life lesson: Judging on people through their nationalities is completely wrong.
03:09 February 17, 2013 by eonic
This article received a review and commentary on http://irishsavant.blogspot.com/2013/02/the-truly-despicable-msm.html
04:24 February 17, 2013 by JohnF_86
It's not surprising Swedish women need to be warned of US man. We are more fun, have higher status and live on the most powerful country. Not to mention that our religious background make us good husbands while the Swedish man act more like girls.
13:42 February 18, 2013 by Chris83
I was a bit confused after reading all comments, but than this is what I felt

the lady would have added some proof to her saying like the statement of her transfer of funds and some from local police so that these comments would not have been like this, i,e... throwing the blame on one on other and she keeping a blank face looking of the routes of this blame.

may be she is so lonely that made her to look up for some love and its absolutely not a mistake about taking this step, doesn't matter what nationality of the person she is trying to find out that thing in him.further a fraud can only calculate a mind of fraud not a simple person.

Pointing towards a whole nation is really bad

Lady please be cautious at least from now.
18:16 February 18, 2013 by SeaBunnie
I totally agree with Shazzer & soultraveler3, that the headlines were totally misleading. It shouldn't sound like a warning from meeting/speaking to American men, online. The trend the scammers use state they're either from New York or Florida, but are usually currently overseas, depending on the story they decide to go with...either military in which they are usually in Iraq or Afghanistan or the engineer, import/exporter, or doctor, working in Nigeria.

I would have to attribute my keen sense of immediately picking up on such scammers to my years of people watching, and due to my visual learning, I can pick up on patterns, tendencies, etc, very quickly.

It's true that Nigerians do know English, but they do NOT know or "get" AMERICAN English, and their grammar is horrible. You can make sense of it, but it is obvious that they are NOT an American.

But to someone who is not fluent in American English, or have problems with English grammar, then it might not be so obvious.

Years ago, if I was bored, I would mess with these scammers heads, just to make a bet with myself, to see how long it would take for them to ask me for money, or try to guess which story they would use for needing the money. HAHAHA

The shortest was in 24 hours from first contact, the longest was about 3 weeks but that was because I was trying a new theory, by telling them about how I have had so many scammers trying to talk to me, and stated that they have some of the typical signs. HAHAHAHA It might have been longer, but this poor guy had to really come up with some chitchat to last long enough, before he even dare to even bring up the hint of wanting money or anything. LOL

Yeah yeah yeah, maybe I was being cruel, but HEY, they mess with women's hearts all the time, so it was time for them to be messed with for awhile, plus it got them distracted from trying to scam another. LOL

I won't go into detail, but I think I left them in fear when I decided to end my game with them.

But at least I was able to learn many tendencies, patterns, etc...that they all seem to use, regardless to which storyline they decide to use. Which I've used to help educate others about.

Some of the most noticeable are:

American's from NY or Florida

Military or Career making lots of money


1 young child

International work usually dealing with Nigeria or North Africa

Immediately attempts to pull you away from site to chat via YAHOO email

Oh, and don't think this just happens to women! There is a whole other type scam that the women (If they really are women) try to do with single men. But their stories, tendencies, etc are a bit different. I never got around to finding out their patterns and tendencies...just a few things I have heard from men who has come across them.
12:01 February 20, 2013 by Nvd
Defamed Nigerians as well.
19:20 February 25, 2013 by SockRayBlue
Just my luck some schmuck ruined it for me. A nice American fellow and my grandfather, Hultén, came from Gothenburg. Now I'm healthy, still good looking and single looking for a reason to visit Sweden and find myself an attractive Swedish woman to fall in love with. I've even shopped at IKEA, but did avoid the meatballs since my aunt Edith made the best I've ever tasted.
21:38 February 27, 2013 by Anda Zevedei
@ JohnF_86: WHAT? americans are 'more fun'? in your dreams maybe :D

'higher status'??? in what? what's that supposed to mean? NO WAY IN ANY WAY

:D oh, and 'live on the most powerfull country' MEANS ABSOLUTELY NOTHING if you have most enemies, which you do :D 'religious background'?!?! LOL I don't even want to get in details here LOL again and 'our religious background makes us good husbands...' can you be more ridiculous than that? LOL the connection in between these two being...??????? and Sedish MEN don't act like girls at all, unless they're maybe gay AMERICANS ARE ONE OF THE MOST IGNORANT ARROGANTS FAT EVER :) I would never want to live in the USA, give me a VISA to work and live there and I would simply say NO to the 'American dream' LMFAO
19:33 March 1, 2013 by rohermoker
Anda: Chill out--I never beleive ANY thing I read on the internet. Us Anericians are an overweight, Loud bunch of cowboys, with a Zionest mindset.
15:27 March 6, 2013 by Meridiean
So...American men are Nigerian con-artists? Is THAT what you're saying, cause it sure sounds like it.

Suggested HONEST title: Beware of Nigerians Pretending to be Americans on Popular Dating Sites

06:03 March 7, 2013 by pghbob555
When I moved to Sweden, I changed my SKYPE profile to show that I now live in Stockholm The very next day, I had several requests from beautiful women looking for friendship and a man to love them. They said they were in Canada, but when I asked them where (because I lived on the border between the US and Canada) they all of a sudden admitted that they lived in Nigeria or Ghana and had to move back because of a sick parent. I think Swedish men are targeted by these people because they may be very willing to part with money if they think someone needs help. It isn't stupidity, it is naivety. Unfortunately, people have to learn the hard way. I wish something could be done to stop those jerks who do this stuff, though, because it is incredibly boring to have to sift through and block all these people which still contact me on a weekly basis.
03:58 April 1, 2013 by sscal
Can't believe the amount of critism of this girl. Give her a break. Reflects poorly on Swedish men if girls are looking elsewhere - Aussie.
Today's headlines
Refugee crisis
Asylum requests in Sweden down by 70 percent
Sweden's migration minister Morgan Johansson. Photo: Christine Olsson/TT

Sweden received 70 percent fewer requests for asylum in the period between January and September 2016 than it did during the same time last year, the country’s justice and migration minister Morgan Johansson has revealed.

The unique story of Stockholm's floating libraries
The Stockholm archipelago book boat. Photo: Roger Hill.

Writer Roger Hill details his journeys on the boats that carry books over Stockholm's waterways and to its most remote places.

Refugee crisis
Second Stockholm asylum centre fire in a week
The new incident follows a similar fire in Fagersjö last week (pictured). Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT

Police suspect arson in the blaze, as well as a similar incident which occurred last Sunday.

More misery for Ericsson as losses pile up
Ericsson interim CEO Jan Frykhammar presenting its third quarter results. Photo: Claudio Bresciani/TT

The bad news just keeps coming from the Swedish telecoms giant.

Facebook 'sorry' for removing Swedish cancer video
A computer displaying Facebook's landing page. Photo: Christine Olsson/TT

The social media giant had censored a video explaining how women should check for suspicious lumps in their breasts.

Watch this amazing footage of Sweden’s landscapes
A still from the aerial footage of Sweden. Photo: Nate Summer-Cook

The spectacular drone footage captures both Sweden's south and the opposite extreme, thousands of kilometres north.

Sweden could be allowed to keep border controls: EU
Police ID checks at Hyllie station in southern Sweden. Photo: Stig-Åke Jönsson/TT

Sweden could be allowed to keep ID controls on its border with Denmark beyond the current end date of November, following discussions among EU leaders in Brussels last night.

Why women in Sweden will work for free by November
File photo of a woman working in a Swedish office. Photo: Anders Willund/TT

A new study into the gender pay gap suggests Sweden still has some work to do.

Look familiar? Meet your jawbone's ancestor
Thank God for evolution, eh?

There's something fishy about the human jawbone – it has its origins in the placodermi, a jowly species of fish that lived 400 million years ago, Swedish and Chinese researchers say.

Isis claims unremarked arson attack in Malmö
The arson attack took place on Norra Grängesbergsgatan in Malmö. File photo: Emil Langvad/TT

An arson attack in Malmö that caused only minor damage and was barely reported in the media has been claimed by terror group Isis.

Sponsored Article
This is Malmö: Football capital of Sweden
Fury at plans that 'threaten the IB's survival' in Sweden
Sponsored Article
Where is the Swedish music industry heading?
Here's where it could snow in central Sweden this weekend
Analysis & Opinion
Are we just going to let half the country die?
Blog updates

6 October

10 useful hjälpverb (The Swedish Teacher) »

"Hej! I think the so-called “hjalpverb” (auxiliary verbs in English) are a good way to get…" READ »


8 July

Editor’s blog, July 8th (The Local Sweden) »

"Hej readers, It has, as always, been a bizarre, serious and hilarious week in Sweden. You…" READ »

Sponsored Article
7 reasons you should join Sweden's 'a-kassa'
Angry elk chases Swede up a lamp post
Sponsored Article
Why you should 'grab a chair' on Stockholm's tech scene
The Local Voices
'Alienation in Sweden feels better: I find myself a stranger among scores of aliens'
People-watching: October 20th
The Local Voices
A layover at Qatar airport brought this Swedish-Kenyan couple together - now they're heading for marriage
Sponsored Article
Stockholm: creating solutions to global challenges
Swede punches clown that scared his grandmother
Sponsored Article
Swedish for programmers: 'It changed my life'
Fans throw flares and enter pitch in Swedish football riot
Could Swedish blood test solve 'Making a Murderer'?
Sponsored Article
Top 7 tips to help you learn Swedish
Property of the week: Linnéstaden, Gothenburg
Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
Swedish school to build gender neutral changing room
People-watching: October 14th-16th
Sponsored Article
'There was no future for me in Turkey'
Man in Sweden assaulted by clowns with broken bottle
Sponsored Article
‘Extremism can't be defeated on the battlefield alone’
Nobel Prize 2016: Literature
Sponsored Article
Stockholm: creating solutions to global challenges
Watch the man who discovered Bob Dylan react to his Nobel Prize win
Sponsored Article
Why you should 'grab a chair' on Stockholm's tech scene
Record numbers emigrating from Sweden
Sponsored Article
'There was no future for me in Turkey'
People-watching: October 12th
Sponsored Article
Where is the Swedish music industry heading?
The Local Voices
'Swedish startups should embrace newcomers' talents - there's nothing to fear'
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
How far right are the Sweden Democrats?
Property of the week: Triangeln, Malmö
Sweden unveils Europe's first elk hut
People-watching: October 7th-9th
The Local Voices
Syria's White Helmets: The Nobel Peace Prize would have meant a lot, but pulling a child from rubble is the greatest reward
Missing rune stone turns up in Sweden
Nobel Prize 2016: Chemistry
jobs available