Phishing scams on the rise; €3 million in damages in six months

The amount of damage caused by phishing scams is on the rise, according to figures from the Dutch Payments Association and the Dutch Banking Association. In the first half of this year, Netherlands residents lost 3.1 million euros to phishing scams, compared to 2.4 million euros in the second half of last year. Banks compensate this damage in most cases, NOS reports.

According to the Payments Association, the increase in phishing can be explained by the fact that it is increasingly easy and cheap to set up a fake website. "That ensures that more and more attacks occur and that the fake websites become more and more credible", spokesperson Berend Jan Beugel said to NOS. 

Phishing messages are sent less via email and more and more often via SMS or WhatsApp. Scammers present themselves as an acquaintance asking for money for an emergency. Or send a text message showing that a large amount was deducted from the victim's bank account. If the victim clicks the link to see what is going on, they end up on a fraudulent website. Fake payment requests are also popular. 

Bank card fraud is also on the rise. In the second half of 2018 bank card fraud caused 2 million euros in damage. In the first half of this year, that amounted to 2.6 million euros. Strikingly, in about half of the cases bank cards were stolen through the internet. Criminals convince victims that they have to swap their bank card. They key in their PIN on a fake website and then send their bank card by post to the scammers.

After years of decline, the amount of damage caused by phishing in the Netherlands began increasing again last year. The Payments Association has the following tips to protect yourself against phishing:

  • Always check the web address in a payment request to make sure it is really from a bank. When in doubt, don't make the payment
  • Never click on a hyperlink to online banking in an email or text message - banks never send hyperlinks. Always go to the bank's website yourself
  • Is a friend asking you for money unexpectedly? Call the friend on the number you have for that person to make sure it's really them.
  • Forward any phishing emails and messages to the bank concerned so that it can warn other customers.