Police warn of widespread fish fraud – several people have been arrested

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Police issue warning against scammers who are often operate in a similar way.

Norwegian police have received a number of reports where companies outside of the country are deceiving them by making them believe they are buying products from Norwegian seafood and salmon farming companies.

“The cheaters create fake websites where they use real Norwegian seafood company names and often also names of management or employees. The information on the website appears credible. The problem with the web pages is that the contact information does not match. If you get in touch, you will meet nice sellers who have very good deals on fish products,” Marthe G. Birkeland, Section Leader at the Department of Economics at West Police District, told SalmonBusiness.

Large dark numbers
Police have so far received more than 40 reports, but one believes there are large unconfirmed numbers involved. 

“The police have arrested money launderers in several parts of the country. Several police districts, as well as Økokrim (National Authority for Investigation and Prosecution of Economic and Environmental Crime .ed) work together with these cases and are working to pursue tracks internationally,” said Birkeland.

Companies in Western Norway in particular are frequently used in these fraud cases.

Cheaters
If one comes into contact with sellers of fish products and is in doubt whether these are real sellers or if there are cheaters there are some factors that can help one in the review.

    • Counterpart wants to have communication via Whatsapp or Skype
    • Wants payment into bank account outside Norway
    • Communicates via non-company-related email accounts, such as Gmail
    • The vat number on the website is 10 digits (Norwegian companies have only 9 digits)
    • The company’s homepage has domain names that don’t end with .no
    • The company’s website does not have a Norwegian version

“This list is not exhaustive. If the examples above are ok, it does not mean that everything is as it should be,” Birkeland stressed.

Video conferencing
“The police recommend that one contacts sellers of fish products via video conference. Legitimate Norwegian sellers will not have a problem with this, while the impostors probably do not want such a solution. Feel free to record the video conference with the sellers,” she continued.

“If you have a contact with the sellers over the phone, it is a good idea to check the phone number on the Norwegian telephone directory www.gulesider.no to check that the phone number and contact person match,” she added.

Real example of document used by scammers. Source: Police

The police are familiar with the following addresses on the internet that the impostors use:
www.espevaerlaks.com
www.viemkcofisk.com
www.inkanorge.com
www.sunseaseafood.com
www.hansonfishingas.com
www.fjoksak.com
www.torsvagbruket.com
www.verager.pl
www.alincoas.com
www.langenesas.com
www.diamondshipping.org
www.norwegian-seafoodsupply.com
www.aschumsseafoodab.com
www.kjpedesen.com (Danish food exporter, not fish)
www.sjotrollhavbrukas.com

If you have any questions or tips for the police, you can contact the country’s Financial Affairs Department at the Western Police District.