CBS: ‘Cyber ​​crime victims have increased sharply’

CBS: ‘Cyber ​​crime victims have increased sharply’

The number of victims of cybercrime has risen sharply in recent years. Purchase and sales fraud are the most popular among cybercriminals. Furthermore, more people have become victims of cyberbullying. Identity theft actually declined.

This is evident from research by the Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS). The victim figures can be found in the Cyber ​​Security Monitor 2021.

Purchase fraud causes most victims

Statistics Netherlands classifies all forms of crime involving the use of the internet, e-mail or applications as cybercrime. Then you should think of, among other things, purchase and sales fraud, identity fraud, phishing and computer intrusion or hacking. Incidents in the personal or relational sphere that are not always punishable, also belong to the domain of cybercrime. This concerns, for example, sexting, cyberstalking, and cyberbullying.

Researchers at CBS looked at the development of the number of victims of hackers and cybercriminals between 2012 and 2021. During this period, the total number of victims increased by almost a quarter (22.1 percent). The biggest increase is in the name of purchase fraud. Someone then buys a product via the internet, pays for it and then receives nothing. This form of online crime has increased by 118.6 percent since 2012.

Young people more often victims of cybercrime than seniors

Sales fraud – where the seller delivers products, but is not paid – is in second place. Its share increased by almost two-thirds (64.7 percent). The share of cyberbullying has grown by a quarter (25.6 percent) since 2012. The number of victims of hacking and identity theft has since decreased, by 5.4 percent and 58.3 percent respectively. In recent years, however, researchers have seen a slight increase in the number of victims of identity fraud.

In most cases, computer breaches were settled with community service, fines or damages. One in five cases was settled without going to court. Judges usually handed out community service to suspects of computer breaches. Nearly three-quarters of the criminal cases were imposed between 2015 and 2020. The number of prison sentences increased to 29 percent during this period (from 19.3 percent).

Last year, 17 percent of the Dutch population aged 15 or older was the target of cybercrime. Young people were generally more likely to be victims of cybercriminals than older people. In 2021, an average of one in five young people aged 15 to 25 was the victim of internet criminals. Among the over-65s, this was about one in eight (12 percent). About a fifth of all victims (19 percent) reported the incident to the police.

Investing in digital skills

Statistics Netherlands is not the only one to see that the number of victims of cybercrime is increasing. The Public Prosecution Service (OM) wrote in its annual report in May that the police received 14,000 reports of cybercrime last year. That is a third more compared to 2020, and a threefold increase compared to the previous year.

The increase in the number of reports of cybercrime is reflected in the influx figures of the Public Prosecution Service. The number of suspects of cybercrime increased in one year from 481 to 574, an increase of 21 percent. In two years, the number of suspects increased by 47 percent.

The impact of cybercrime on society has been enormous. If cybercriminals are not dealt with under criminal law, citizens’ confidence in the digital infrastructure and the democratic rule of law will decline. Cybercrime is difficult to detect and requires a lot of knowledge and specialists who are constantly developing to keep up with hackers. That is why it is important that the Public Prosecution Service continues to invest widely in digital skills.

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