1.2 million Dutch fell victim to cybercrime last year

Last year 8.5 percent of Dutch internet users aged 12 years or older fell victim to cybercrime. That amounts to 1.2 million Dutch victims, Statistics Netherlands reported on Wednesday based on a study performed in collaboration with the police. Young people fell victim most often. And the most common type of cyber crime was crime against property - crime in which the perpetrator stole money from the victim, according to the stats office.

Teenagers and young people between the ages of 12 and 25 years most often fell victim to cybercrime, with 12 percent of them saying they were scammed online in some way last year. The percentage of victims decreased the older they get, with 9.8 percent of 35 to 45 year olds falling victim to cyber crime, 5.4 percent of 55 to 65 year olds, and 3.3 percent of people aged 75 or older. 

4.6 percent were victims of a property crime, the most common of which was online purchase fraud - victims paid for services or goods that were never delivered. Perpetrators managing to take money from victims' bank accounts, and victims paying a fake invoice were also relatively common.

Hacking was the second most common type of cybercrime last year, affecting 1.8 percent of Dutch. Perpetrators managed to break into one of their devices, email or social media accounts. 

The third most common type of cybercrime involved interpersonal incidents, either with or without a sexual connection. This involves things like defamation, threats, stalking, or bullying. 1.4 percent fell victim to such incidents with no sexual connection, and 0.7 percent fell victim to such a crime with a sexual connection. Young women in particular fell victim to the latter. 

According to the stats office, men and women are equally likely to fall victim to cybercrime. Though men are more likely to be hit by a crime against property, while women are more likely to be affected by interpersonal incidents.

The vast majority of victims never reported the crime to the police. They thought that it wouldn't help, that it was not important enough, or that it was not possible to report this type of crime. The police therefore want to make it easier to report cyber crimes. "We do that, for example, by making online reports possible for common digital crimes", Theo van der Plas, head of the cybercrime unit at the police, said to NU.nl.