Already 21 million euros in damage due to online fraud

In the first six months of the year, the Fraud Helpdesk received 18,738 reports of online fraud. As a result, the amount of damage amounts to almost 21 million euros, more than 2.5 million euros more compared to the first half of last year. Most financial damage was caused by misuse of company data.

This is what Tanya Wijngaarde, spokesperson at the Fraud Helpdesk, tells NU.nl when asked .

Many reports about identity and web store fraud

In the identity fraud category, 2,505 reports were received in the first six months of the year. In doing so, someone tries to loot and misuse your personal data for criminal purposes, for example by using your name and defrauding victims. This is a very dangerous form of identity theft, as it can cause substantial financial loss. Or worse, you could even get a criminal record or jail time for something you didn’t do.

Most victims fell in online store fraud. This includes buying and selling fraud. According to the Fraud Helpdesk, there were 2,137 victims in the past six months, who collectively lost 482,962 euros. The Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS) recently reported that the number of victims of purchase fraud increased by 118.6 percent between 2012 and 2021. The number of victims of sales fraud increased by 64.7 percent during this period.

Thousands of reports of English phone calls

Most financial damage is due to misuse of company data. In the first half of this year, nearly EUR 7,240,000 in damage was reported. Internet scammers often pretended to be the director of a company that claims to have money to spare. This form of fraud is also known as CEO fraud and is part of Business Email Compromise or BEC fraud . There are also examples where scammers impersonated a bank or Europol. Last year, BEC fraud accounted for more than 1.6 million euros in damage.

In addition, the Fraud Helpdesk received thousands of reports of calls in English in the first two quarters . People were supposedly called by the ‘National Police’ or the ‘Dutch Supreme Court’. The caller said that the citizen service number (BSN) would be misused. Some calls warned people that they had engaged in criminal activities such as money laundering and drug trafficking. In addition, some were told that they had a warrant for their arrest.

The Fraud Helpdesk warned people not to divulge a citizen service number or other personal information. Disconnect, do not call back numbers you do not know and be alert to future telephone traffic, was the advice.

Cabinet to tackle online fraud

Earlier this month, the cabinet promised to tackle online fraud hard. Research has shown that four out of ten Dutch people have experienced online fraud at some point. This causes about 2.75 billion euros in damage every year. In addition to financial damage, online fraud often also leads to emotional and psychological damage. That is why the government believes it is important to put a limit on this.

The government has formulated six pillars to counter the growth of online fraud: prevention, technical barriers, victim fulfillment, investigation and prosecution, and expertise and information sharing. To prevent people from becoming victims of online fraud, the cyber driver’s license pilot was recently launched. Pupils in primary education are then updated and informed about various forms of online fraud. The intention is that the cyber driving license will soon be available for all primary schools.

Justice and Security Minister Dilan Yesilgöz-Zegerius warned that there is currently “no financial cover available”. It is up to the House of Representatives to debate which initiatives will and will not be implemented. The integrated approach to online fraud will be evaluated early next year. In the autumn of 2023, the government will present the first annual progress report.

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