Four people fall victim to 'Sweden car scam'

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A car-buying scam has claimed four victims in Northern Ireland, cheating them out of nearly £20,000 combined.

The scammers claim to be a Swedish national who has recently moved back to their home country after living in Northern Ireland. They say they need to sell their car as it is a right-hand drive so is inappropriate for Swedish roads.

Ian Lowe, from Coleraine, lost £4,000 in the con. In an interview with the BBC, he explained what happened after asking about an Audi.

"It looked a reasonable price for what it was. I tried ringing the number provided but it went to voicemail," he said.

"The following day I got a text message from a woman who provided an email address.

"She told me a whole story about how she had worked in Ikea in Belfast, had the car and had taken it back to Sweden with her and it was no use in Sweden because it was a right-hand-drive car."

The seller claims they will organise shipping of the car but disappears once the money has been transferred. To put the buyer off the scent until it's too late, the scammers have even set up a website for a fake logistics company.

In each case, the email from the seller is nearly identical. The only differences are the vehicles for sale and that the Ikea branch varies between Dublin and Belfast.

Bill Malloy from the Trading Standards Service said: "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, however plausible they might sound and even where an approach is personalised."