Expat workers in the Netherlands hit by phone scammers

Published:  18 May at 6 PM
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A reappearance of a telephone scam is now targeting working expats in the Netherlands.

Expats working in the Netherlands have fallen foul of a re-jig of a telephone scam involving their work and residency visas. Fraudulent callers pretending to be officials from the Dutch immigration service are demanding money on the basis that expat work and residency visas will be revoked if payment is not made.

Frighteningly, the fraudulent callers seem to have obtained their potential victims’ personal and private information, including passport numbers, email addresses, dates of arrival in the Netherlands and even the visas of their spouses. Posing as civil servants, the callers threaten their expat victims with deportation.

One expat, Gaurav Arora, working as a project manager for a major electronics company, was told he had problems with his work visa. The victim later told local media the man sounded very convincing and told him to send more private information to the ‘IND expat website’ via an email.

At this point, Arora became suspicious and asked the caller to confirm his request by email to both himself and his boss. The man hung up and has made no further attempts at contact.

A spokesperson from the IND told the media he had no knowledge as to how the fraudsters had obtained private information, adding that it certainly could not have come from IND files. Despite requests for more information, the IND is refusing to state whether any recipients of the fraudulent calls have paid money to the crooks.

Its only action so far has been to open a helpline aimed at expats who believe they have fallen for the fraudsters’ line. According to immigration lawyer Jelle Kroes, the Netherlands’ immigration department are less than careful as regards verification of its callers.

Kroes added that, on many such calls on behalf of his clients, no attempts were made to ensure his right to ask questions concerning a third party. It’s easy, he said, for criminals to take advantage of this.
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