More Dutch scammed while shopping online

A report released by the CBS states that nearly 450.000 Dutch consumers indicated that they were victims of a scam while shopping online in 2013, an increase of 0,4 per cent from 2012.

While cases of internet fraud increased overall, the amount of "skimming" cases decreased by 0,3 per cent in 2013.

Interestingly enough, just one out of five people reporting they had been victims of a scam registered an official complaint with the police.

Increase in scams while buying online

With 8 in 10 Dutch internet users making purchases digitally, it’s a fact that many people in the Netherlands like to shop online. However, as more online transactions take place, problems related to fraud have become more frequent.

In 2013, approximately 3,3 per cent of the Dutch population over the age of 15 reported that they were victims of a scam while purchasing or selling something via the internet.

The CBS report divides online shopping fraud into two categories: those conned while buying a good or service, for example paying for a product that was never delivered, and those scammed while selling a good or service, including fulfilling an order without receiving payment.

Most scams were related to the consumer side, where 3,1 per cent of the population paid for a product or service that was never fulfilled.

Although there were more instances of scams reported, the CBS acknowledges that this could have more to do with the general increase in the number of people shopping online rather than a growth in criminal activity targeting shoppers.

Identity fraud: less skimming, still phishing

While online shopping became more problematic for Dutch consumers, there was a distinct decrease in identity fraud stemming from conducting financial transactions over the internet.

In 2013, the amount of Dutch individuals reporting that they had been a victim of identity fraud as a result of using an electronic payment system or carrying out financial transactions over the internet decreased from 1,5 per cent to 1,3 per cent.

This decrease can largely be attributed to the diminished frequency of skimming.

The amount of skimming cases, whereby digital information is copied from a debit or credit card at an ATM or payment point, saw a sharp decline from 1,1 per cent in 2012 to just 0,8 per cent in 2013; nearly 120.000 people.

This decrease is most likely due to new regulations implemented by banks, such as replacing the magnetic strips on cards with a digital chip and the immediate blocking of transactions taking place outside of Europe without forewarning.

While skimming decreased, the reported amount of phishing, defined as the unwarranted copying of payment information via the internet through a hacked computer or fake website, remained largely the same at 0,43 per cent or approximately 60.000 people.

Few seek police assistance

Of the total reported cases of online shopping fraud, just one out of five registered an official complaint with the police.

In cases of identity fraud (skimming and phishing cases, amongst others), the number of instances reported to the police was 13 per cent less than that of online shopping. However, almost 90 per cent of identity fraud victims did report the problem to a bank or financial institution for further investigation.

Sources: CBS, NUzakelijk

Benjamin Garstka


Benjamin Garstka

Raised in Massachusetts. University years in New York City. Graduate school in Utrecht. Amsterdammer by choice. Cultuurliefhebber. Urbanist. Affinity for sarcasm, craft beers, art criticism, stand-up comedy and the Dutch...

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