Scammers target refugees and foreigners in Switzerland

Swiss authorities distributed leaflets in all asylum seekers' centres on January 24, warning people about the scam. Keystone

Fraudsters posing as Swiss authorities have been trying to scam asylum seekers and foreigners living in Switzerland, threatening that they would be expelled from the country if they did not pay money.

This content was published on February 3, 2019 - 16:21

The scammers have been posing as members of the Swiss border control authorities, the State Secretariat for Migration (SEM) or even the Federal Office of Police (fedpol), reported Le Matin Dimanche newspaper on Sunday. They have been threatening to withdraw the victim’s residence permit or expel them if they do not pay a certain sum of money into an account.

“It doesn’t work like that but for refugees, they may think that paying can help their asylum application,” SEM spokesman Reto Kormann told Swiss news agency Keystone-SDA. Confirming the report, he said the SEM had been informed by the border guard that refugees were being contacted in English. 

The SEM therefore acted immediately to alert refugees and cantonal migration authorities to the scam, he said. His office declined to indicate the number of victims or amounts of money requested. 

Fedpol says it will file a complaint and also encourages victims to do the same. "It's an essential step in cases like this," fedpol spokesman Thomas Dayer told Keystone-SDA. 

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