According to reporters for The Local, a Swedish newspaper, foreign students studying at universities in Sweden have been targeted by fraudsters. Students from abroad have been tricked out of their identities and had products bought in their name.
Waseem Akhtar, a student from Pakistan, was studying at the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm (KTH) to become an IT engineer when he encountered the fraudsters. He had been in Sweden for just a few months when he received a false notification from the Tax Authority (Skatteverket) in the mail, claiming he had moved.
Luckily, Akhtar took note of the notice and contacted the Skatteverket and rectified the change, but in the meantime the new Visa card he had ordered 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,” Akhtar said.
Unfortunately something had gone wrong, as Akhtar began receiving notifications in the mail of purchases he had not made. The Swedish Enforcement Authority (Kronofogdemyndigheten) also sent him notices of unpaid bills. In total, Akhtar now owes more than 50,000 kronor (USD 8,250) for goods he never authorised.
Unfortunately there is very little the students can do, particularly if the police are unable to locate the fraudsters. A spokesperson for Skatteverket advised students to contact companies directly about the unauthorised purchases as soon as possible.