Phone fraud more prevalent in Norway than other Nordics

Norway is much more exposed to scam calls than its neighbours, figures have revealed. In January, telecommunications firm Telia blocked nearly twice as many fraudulent calls in Norway than in Sweden or Denmark.

People on their phones.
Telia blocked more fraudulent calls in Norway than they did in Sweden or Denmark last month. Pictured is a stock photo of people using their phones. Photo by ROBIN WORRALL on Unsplash

During January, telecommunications firm Telia blocked just over 4 million fraudulent calls in Norway, nearly twice as many as in Denmark and Sweden, public broadcaster NRK reports.

Methods phone scammers use include phishing, where fraudulent callers send a message designed to trick the recipient into revealing sensitive information, and spoofing, where a cybercriminal pretends to be somebody else.

Telia has meanwhile noted a new scam on the rise in Norway called “Wangiri”. Wangiri- which in Japanese means “one ring and cut”- sees scammers call, allow the phone to ring once and then end the call. The aim is to get people to call back and incur high fees.

READ ALSO: How to switch to a Norwegian phone number

“It’s difficult to answer why (Norway is exposed to more phone scams), but those who do this (Wangiri scams) have realised that Norwegians call back. They probably have a higher hit rate in Norway,” Øivind Kristiansen of Telia told NRK.

“It may be that we are a little too naive and gullible,” he added.

Telia has said that to avoid becoming the victim of a Wangiri scam people shouldn’t answer or call back foreign numbers they don’t recognise.

Frank Stein, from the National Communication Authority, said that trying to stamp out scammers was a game of cat and mouse.

“There are many things that work against this. People are getting wiser, but on the other hand, attacks are getting smarter. It’s a cat and mouse game: one does not always know who is who. It’s the security industry in a nutshell,” he explained to NRK.

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Oslo shooting suspect remanded in custody for four weeks

The suspect behind a weekend shooting in Oslo that left two dead and 21 wounded was remanded in custody for four weeks on Monday.

Oslo shooting suspect remanded in custody for four weeks

Zaniar Matapour will have no contact with the outside world until July 25, Oslo District Court ruled. The 43-year-old is accused of killing two men and wounding 21 other people when he opened fire near a gay bar in central Oslo in the early hours of Saturday morning, amid celebrations linked to the city’s Pride festival.

Norway’s domestic intelligence service has described the attack as “an act of Islamist terrorism” and said Matapour had “difficulties with his mental health.” Norwegian police said they were still investigating Matapour’s motive.

He has been charged with “terrorist acts”, murder and attempted murder, but has so far refused to be interrogated by police. According to his lawyer, he fears investigators will manipulate video recordings of his questioning.

Matapour, a Norwegian of Iranian origin, will undergo a preliminary psychiatric evaluation to help determine the state of his mental health and whether he can be held legally responsible for his actions.

He had been known to Norway’s PST intelligence service since 2015, with concerns about his radicalisation and membership of “an extremist Islamist network”.

READ ALSO: Norway pays tribute to victims of Oslo shooting

Police said they were examining several possible theories, including an attack motivated by ideology, unstable mental health, a hate crime against the LGBTQ community, or a combination of factors.

The PST said it did not pick up on any “violent intent” when its services interviewed him last month.

Justice Minister Emilie Enger Mehl said there would be a review into the police and PST’s handling of the case.

Nordic ministers visited the site of the attack on Monday, saying in a joint statement that they “stand together with the LGBTI community and against all forms of violence”.

Oslo’s Pride parade, which had been scheduled to take place for the first time in three years due to the Covid pandemic, has been postponed indefinitely.