Friday 17 September 2021

Police investigate fraudsters demanding ‘visa cash’ from expats

Photo: Depositphotos.com

Photo: Depositphotos.com

Dutch police are investigating two cases of expats who say they were conned into sending cash to fraudsters posing as workers from the IND immigration service.

A spokeswoman has confirmed that police in The Hague are formally investigating two cases of alleged fraud.

Last month, the Volkskrant revealed that the IND and police were trying to find the source of personal information that fraudsters were using to telephone expats claiming there were problems with their residency documents and saying they needed to pay or ‘be thrown out of the Netherlands’.

The conmen sometimes had detailed information including passport numbers and appeared to be calling from a 070 telephone number used by the Dutch justice ministry.

The Volkskrant reported that 24 cases of telephone fraud were known of in May, with the first reported on 7 March, and three official reports made to the police.

It cited an Indian national, 32-year-old Gaurav Arora, a project manager for a major Dutch electronics company who was told there were problems with his visa by a convincing-sounding civil servant.

‘He knew my email address, the date I came to the Netherlands and my passport number,’ Arora told the Volkskrant. ‘He also started talking about my wife’s visa which is when I really got worried.’

He was asked to send information via an ‘IND expat website’ but became suspicious, asked for an official email to be sent to him and his manager, and heard nothing more.

Investigation

An investigation by Dutchnews.nl has revealed another two people claiming to be victims of the fraudsters and warning others.

One said he sent more than €2,000 via money transfer services to telephone phishers in China, after more than five hours of calls threatening them with being jailed for a week or deported. He said the final call happened in Eindhoven police station, before the harassment stopped, but it is unclear whether any official complaint is being pursued.

He told DutchNews.nl Eindhoven police said ‘they will not take any action on this case’ but did have a further conversation with the IND requesting documentary evidence.

Another person in Rotterdam shared a warning about the scam on a social media site used by many expats, but did not want to reveal further details.

An IND spokesman told the Volkskrant that it was unlikely the information came from its own files. A spokeswoman for the ministry of security and justice told DutchNews.nl that it was aware of 24 cases and three official reports.

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