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TU/e student not the only victim of threatening phone call

It turns out that the TU/e student who received a phone call earlier this year from someone pretending to be a government official, is not the only victim. The Immigration & Naturalization Service (IND) received several reports of these kinds of threatening phone calls in recent years. The agency reported the phone calls to the police and asked the prosecution service to start an investigation.

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If she refused to submit her personal data, she would be arrested by the police and risk imprisonment. An Indian TU/e student, who wishes to remain anonymous, heard this threatening message from someone who pretended to be a government official, Cursor reported on this site in July. After a scare, it eventually ended well for the student. Some international students in Delft received similar phone calls earlier this year. Unlike the Indian student, they were cheated out of a sum of money.

Between 2016 and 2018, the IND received reports about similar phone calls, the agency’s spokesperson says. “We know of several different cases but we do not have the exact numbers, and the actual number could be much higher. We also don’t know whether they specifically target students or not. What we do know it that people from India and Pakistan in particular receive these phone calls. A few people in Belgium and Germany received these kinds of phone calls as well.”


The caller uses the same method each time, the IND spokesperson says. “As far as we know, the imposters posed as an official of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the IND, the Ministry of Justice and Security, the police, and the Embassy of India during recent years. They always speak English, and the number you see on the screen of your phone always leads to the agency in question. The victims receive a call from someone who tells them that they failed to fill in an Alien Registration Form upon entering the Netherlands, or that something is wrong with their documents. Supposedly, the problem could be solved by paying an amount of money via iTune cards, for instance.”

The spokesperson stresses the fact that both the IND and the Ministry of Justice and Security never call someone with a recognizable phone number, and that they never request payment via iTunes cards. “The impostors appear to be very clever in finding personal data and phone numbers on the internet, for example. It would be wise for people to realize where they leave their personal data.”

The IND asked the policy and the prosecution service to start an investigation. “We advise students to report these phone calls to the police, should this happen to them."

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