SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – Indian nationals in the Netherlands are still being conned out of thousands of euros by scammers who pose as officials from the Dutch immigration service IND, DutchNews can report.
The latest victim, a master’s student at Delft University, lost €1,400 after she was threatened with arrest for ‘failing to provide proper paperwork’ when she came to the Netherlands 18 months ago.
Anubhuti Chandna told DutchNews.nl she was telephoned earlier this week by a man who had her passport number and her address. ‘I verified the number and it came from the immigration service,’ she said.
‘He told me there was a warrant out for my arrest because there was reason to believe I was involved in criminal activity either here or in India.’ The man, who may have had an Indian accent, told Chandna she would be arrested if she put down the phone, asked for her BSN and other numbers, as well as information about how many bank accounts she had.
‘He was extremely threatening,’ she said. ‘At that point your head stops working.’ The caller told Chanda to buy Apple gift cards to the value of €1,400 from a supermarket as security and give him the numbers.
He said that a policeman would drop round shortly to give her a cheque for the amount and verify her documents. ‘It was then I realised this was a scam,’ she says. ‘I immediately called the number back and got the foreign ministry who told me they are aware their number is being hacked.’
The Indian embassy in The Hague told her it knows about the con trick but that there is little officials can do. ‘They told me not to worry because the scammers are not in the Netherlands and no-one is going to come to my house,’ Chandna said.
She has also made a formal complaint to the police, who say they are aware of other examples of people being conned. ‘All three agencies are aware this is going on, but no-one is warning the Indian community,’ she said.
‘I know the money is not going to come back, but more should be done to make sure other people don’t fall for the same trick.’
The IND has a warning on the news section of its website which dates from 2016. Neither the justice ministry nor the Indian embassy responded to DutchNews requests for comment about what can be done to stop more people falling victim to the scam.
In January 2018, the justice ministry told DutchNews.nl that 160 expats had reported attempts to con them out of cash by people posing as workers at the IND immigration service.
At least 10 attempts of those attempts have succeeded the ministry said. Website Fraud Helpdesk has a recording of one of the scammers in action. (DutchNews)