Fraudsters escape prison for major online scam

Several fraudsters who used Swedish buy-sell site Blocket to defraud 268 people of more than one million kronor ($156,000) won't end up going to prison following a court ruling.

Fraudsters escape prison for major online scam

One of the main perpetrators of the scam was initially sentenced to two years in prison for offences dating back to 2008. However, he avoided prison in part because five years elapsed from the time the crime was committed to the time the ruling was handed down, the local Hallands Nyheter newspaper reported.

Many of the dodgy deals involved victims shelling out hundreds of kronor for mobile phones, computer games, and other electronic items. One victim was tricked into paying for a phantom mountain cabin while another bought several non-existent puppies.

It’s estimated that over a million kronor was spent on the fake items although the actual number is likely to be much higher as it is believed many victims failed to report the fraud.

A total of 23 people, most from western Sweden, were prosecuted with 22 convicted of serious fraud. Most denied the charges.

The three suspected ringleaders were sentenced to 18 months in prison. A 26-year old residing in Halmstad was given a two year sentence for serious fraud.

A total of 13 of the 22 people convicted appealed their convictions. One 26-year-old avoided a prison sentence and was instead given a fine and released on probation as the court took into consideration that he was 21 when the fraud took place.

Many others had their sentences modified and reduced. Only two men, aged 26 and 27 years old respectively, were given a prison sentence of a year each. A 23-year old woman was acquitted completely.

In its lengthy ruling, the court added that the crimes were organized and had been carried systematically with offenders working together to target victims.

Last month it was revealed that fraudsters were posting fake apartment listings to target students with Blocket urging users to keep their wallets sealed under a contract is signed.

“If a landlord starts talking about sending money, that’s when you should report him to us,” a spokesperson for Blocket told The Local.

In July, it was reported that a man had conned 50 Swedes to part with 400,000 kronor for items that the buyers never received using Blocket.

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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.