Swedish Car Scam

myvehicle blog

Swedish Car Scam

In early autumn the Trading Standards Service in the UK heard from three consumers who had lost some £13,000 between them due to a scam which has been since been called the Swedish Car Scam.

Most recently, a Co Down couple lost a sizeable sum of money on the promise the vehicle would be delivered to their home but it never arrived and ended up having no car to show for their troubles. They paid £4,850 (€5,680) by bank transfer for a 2010 Ford Kuga. Because the money was passed through bank transfer in London, the London Metropolitan Police are now investigating.

The Swedish car scammers are targeting unsuspecting people by using increasingly sophisticated and manipulative tactics which are costing people hugely.

How the scam works:

  • The scam follows a similar pattern in all cases so far.
  • It begins with advertisements appearing in local newspapers and car sale websites.
  • The vehicles are advertised at exceptionally low prices to garner interest from unsuspecting buyers.
  • The buyer then contacts the seller and a conversation starts.
  • The scammer may say that they have worked in IKEA in Belfast or Dublin for several years and they had to return back to Sweden.
  • They claim to be selling their car privately having returned to Sweden after working in the Republic or Northern Ireland.
  • They may say they drove the car back to Sweden but they are selling it because they need a new left-hand-drive car.
  • The car they are selling is obviously a right-hand drive vehicle which they have used in Ireland but this is no use in Sweden.
  • The seller engages in very convincing dialogue with prospective customers. You are then given quite a ‘reasonable’ and ‘believable’ story where they are prepared to sell the car at a good price, in fact, it may be a price too good to be true.
  • They will sound very plausible and their approach will be personalised.
  • They promise to arrange transport of the car back to Ireland, north or south.

This is where the scam really starts:

  • The buyer is told that they can avail of a safe payment method and delivery through a third party logistics company which all seems very plausible.
  • Promises are made of a safe payment transfer, maybe the Western Union or Moneygram.
  • To help push the scam to the next level, the seller then sends to the potential buyer copies of a driving licence, bank statement, a utility bill and company details – all of which are false.
  • A link is then sent to the potential buyers that open up a specially created fake website for the fake logistics company.
  • They may say that the car is in a cargo shipping container at the port.
  • On inspection, you will find that the vehicle is not actually in a shipping container as that container does not exist.

How to protect yourself from car scammers:

The correspondence by the seller in all the cases that have occurred to date is virtually identical except for maybe specific details of the cars advertised.

  • Follow the old adage. If something looks too good to be true, it probably is.
  • Don’t be rushed into sending off money to someone you do not know.

In a local twist, the Trading Standards Service in the UK recently advised a consumer from England before they nearly parted with their money in a similar scam after they were made aware that the consumer had become increasingly suspicious of the seller and their refusal to allow them to inspect the car because it was in a cargo shipping container.

The TSS discovered that the vehicle storage depot in south Belfast, where it was supposedly stored, did not exist.

MyVehicle can reveal that this scam is still being run in the Republic and we would advise potential buyers that no matter how good the bargain may seem, they should never part with money without seeing and dealing with a potential seller face to face and without seeing the car in question.


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