Alexandra is an Australian citizen and an experienced expat, having spent (quite a bit of) time in A...
200.000 victims of identity fraud in the Netherlands08 October 2013, by Alexandra Gowling
According to recent figures from CBS, 1,5 per cent of people over 15 years in the Netherlands fell victim to identity fraud through debit machines, ATMs or via the internet in 2012. This amounts to more than 200.000 people.
Types of fraud
People were defrauded either by having their credit or debit card copied through a point-of-sale payment machine or an ATM, called skimming, or by making payments via using hacked or fake internet sites (phishing or pharming).
Seven out of 10 victims lost their money from having their card skimmed, with phishing and pharming accounting for the rest.
Eighty per cent cases took place in the Netherlands, with only 10 per cent cases occurring when victims were travelling abroad, while the location for last 10 per cent is "unknown."
According to the statistics, men are more often defrauded than women, especially those in the 25 to 45 year old age group, is closely followed by the 45 to 65 age group. Also, people with a higher education are twice as likely as those with a lower education to become victims of this sort of crime.
Well over 80 per cent of people who suffered from skimming, phishing or pharming reported their loss to their banking institution, with less than 20 per cent reporting it to the police.
Despite the high numbers for 2012, the figures for damage for the first half of 2013 have dropped by a huge 58 per cent as compared to the second half of 2012. Compared to the same time last year the figure is even greater: 82 per cent less.
According to the Dutch Banking Association, the decrease in skimming is mainly the result of "geoblocking," where the magnetic strip on the debit card has an "off" default setting for use outside Europe.
Since the introduction of new chips in 2012, it has been virtually impossible to obtain cash with skimmed cards in Europe.
Dutch banks still see many attempts to commit fraud, however, primarily in the use of malware, special software used to infiltrate computers and "phish" for confidential data.
As banks are increasingly able to recognise and prevent malware, the damage is decreasing. Increased knowledge among consumers is also helping, as people are better able to protect themselves.
The need for vigilance is hardly going to decrease, however. Around 93 per cent of money transfers in the Netherlands are now made using the internet, with nearly four in five Dutch people between 16 and 75 years of doing the banking with their computers.
In fact, of all Europeans, the Dutch and the Finnish do the most internet banking.