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Fraudsters target foreign students

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Fraudsters target foreign students
10:48 CEST+02:00
Foreign students at Swedish universities are being targeted by fraudsters. Criminals are stealing students' identities and buying goods in their names, reports Dagens Nyheter.

Dagens Nyheter reports that a student from Pakistan, Waseem Akhtar, who came to Sweden to study to become an IT engineer at the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm (KTH), has been hit by fraudsters.

After a couple of months in Sweden, Waseem discovered that criminals had stolen his identity with the help of a falsified notification sent to the Tax Authority (Skatteverket) in November 2007 claiming that he had moved.

Waseem noticed by chance that for some reason his address had changed and he contacted Skatteverket. Skatteverket could help only by nullifying the notification and changing back Waseem's address. By now Waseem had noticed that his new visa card had disappeared.

"How can Skatteverket change my address without checking with me? I did not think that anything could go wrong with the Swedish system," Waseem said to Dagens Nyheter.

Waseem then began to receive bills for goods and services that he had not ordered and demands from the Swedish Enforcement Authority (Kronofogdemyndigheten) for unpaid bills. The amount fraudulently charged in his name is now in excess of 50,000 kronor ($8,250).

Skatteverket reports that foreign students are a group that has recently been targeted by fraudsters and the authority has been notified of several cases in recent months.

Jenny Segeljakt at Skatteverket advises students to approach companies directly and ask them to withdraw their demands. Segeljakt claims that Swedes have often been successful in the past.

If companies are not as willing to cooperate with foreign students in Sweden there is little victims can do if the police are unable to track down the fraudsters.

"The Enforcement Authority is usually pretty quick to withdraw all the money in an account," Segeljakt said to Dagens Nyheter.

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