Swedish Language Blog

Job Scam Targeting English-Speakers Posted by on Sep 25, 2008 in Culture

I was going to tell you about “tvättstuga” today, but then realized that there are more pressing subjects in the world today. And no, I am not talking about the American banking crisis.
I am talking about this article in The Local:

“An experienced scam artist has been targeting English speaking jobseekers in Sweden, luring them with promises of non-existent jobs, police say.”

A few people outside of Sweden can even imagine how hard it can be for a foreigner without any Swedish skills to enter the job market here. So an ad like that, seeking applicants for an office job and not requiring fluent Swedish was indeed a dream come true to hundreds of people.
In reality, neither the company nor the job existed. It was all an elaborate scam. But what’s puzzling is the motivation of the scam artist. He didn’t bilk his victims out of thousands of kronor, and his personal material gains seem rather slim – just a bunch of laptops purchased on credit. So why did he do it? The article claims it was simply for the thrill of cheating unsuspecting people and destroying their lives. From what I’ve heard from the English-speaking community here in Sweden, one poor guy actually quit his job in the UK and moved here for this non-existing opportunity, only to find out he’s been scammed. Another one, like in the article, declined a different job offer and moved from another city to Gothenburg.

And the saddest part of it all? There is nothing that the police can do, because much of the damage caused is not legally criminal.

But why was it so easy for a smart, sensible person to fall for this scam? As the guy interviewed in the article said: “When you’ve been trying to get a job for a long time, you don’t question [things].”

And this statement sums up nicely something that many prospective immigrants to Sweden do not realize, or simply choose to ignore – that getting any job here will be hard, and getting a nice, cushy office job will be even harder, if you don’t speak Swedish.

So, the moral of this story? If something looks too good to be true, then it probably is, even in Sweden.

PS. And the truly scary part of this is that the website of this non-existent fraudulent company is still up! The firm hosting it, even though notified about the case, did nothing to pull it down. And the scammer is thought to have moved to Copenhagen and might be targeting expats there.

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  1. ceci:

    so…man must be carefull! and yes, as you said, if you dont have swedish s knowledge, you can t work! that is a fact
    thank you anna for let us know this article

  2. Erez:

    I disagree, Ceci. Today, nearly everyone has the tools to be a freelancer in whatever field they want, and earn surprisingly well. Combine your hobbies and passions in life with the internet, top with unbeatable belief in yourself, and there is your money. It is really that simple, but as usual, most people seem to choose the hard ways in life. They should that know other, easier ways, do exist!

    Anna, thank you very much for your posting this. It is always good to be reminded for the existence of cruel scams, especially when Sweden, a seemingly heaven on Earth, is concerned. I, personally, was almost a victim of a scam in Sweden as well, and I can tell that you do not have to be a naive person to fall into traps of that kind. You spend days, sometimes months and years, hoping to finally get a job in Sweden although you do not speak Swedish, and when your wishes have finally been manifested (or when your prays have at last been answered, if you are religious) you naturally grab it. And if you may hesitate for a moment or suspect in something, you will soon hush that voice, in fear that you may lose a great opportunity. It is natural and alright to do so, although at the end of the day, unless you enjoy being scammed, you should be alert and a little more picky if necessary, for your own good. As probably any other aspcect in life, it is about finding, and living at, the balance. This time, the balance between Naivety and Skepticism. Good luck, my brothers and sisters.

  3. ceci:

    oh yes erez! you are right! even if anna did not write, i know today who the nobel goes to, the french author…only that i like how anna tell us the news! thank you!

  4. Erez:

    Thank you, my friend.

    And yeah, this wonderful “Anna Post” blog is addictive!

  5. liu:

    UK job scams are much more popular, this is probably was one of the couple of bigger scams here which attracted media attention but in the meantime in the UK it’s happening on daily basis and what sad is not mostly by UK citizens but people from different countries like Czech Republic scamming citizens of their own nations. They have a huge advantage and very low chance to get into trouble since they probably already made a good living for themselves in the UK.

    They advertise a lot of jobs, even make fake companies to do so. You get an offer about you will make 10 times more money then you made in your own country. Many desperate people will immediately make arrangements to leave his country and start working there (from a lot of reason like have to pay a debt, his family is in a bad situation etc.).

    They can come out with so little money which not even enough for a week to live or to travel back to their own country then they realize it was a scam. They ended up being alone in a city like London, where they might don’t even find their embassy, they don’t have money to pay for a place to stay for a couple of nights so they might become drifters.

    Also there are scams where they force people into unfair contracts where they will hardly get enoguh money again to make their living and if they try to leave they can be even prosecuted legally for what they did.

    It’s a dog eat world out there, where anyone would do anything for money and I doubt most of the young swedish people realizing this, at least they grown up in a normal world and not the way I had to because that screws you up for forever.

  6. Ramsey Smith:

    Interesting article,what is the difference between a scam and a very good deal? Sorta a gray area, if your morally bankrupt especiallly, or trying to get your scam up and running. How many dozens of people were robbed while this guy was running out of country?? What is the difference between hiring out of country (slave) labor and a scam? Please right a follow up article! thank you in advance

    not “A few” just few, Few people (extra word),

  7. billa:

    Getting job is very hard but we can get job without swedish in IT Sector, and Hotel sectors only if you want jobs is sweden stokholm please visit my blog here we are publishing several english speaking jobs.
    please click on above paramlink

  8. Andy:

    Sweden can even imagine how hard it can be for a foreigner without any Swedish skills to enter the job market.
    For ‘best JOBS in Sainsburys’ :
    Click here for Jobs