More phone scams reported in Netherlands, especially in English
There was an increase in the number of telephone scams reported in the Netherlands, according to the annual figures of 2022. The total rose by 18 percent, according to the Fraud Helpdesk. Victims were duped into transferring money 136 times, which amounted to a total loss of more than 1 million euros.
The reports mainly concerned people who were played a pre-recorded warning message in English, supposedly recorded by an investigative agency or government authority, in which their personal data was demanded. English-speaking people were more likely to fall for the scammers’ stories, the Fraud Helpdesk said. There were also many reports of scammers posing as bank employees.
In total, the Fraud Helpdesk received approximately 500,000 reports last year about various scams, both over the phone and otherwise, via its call center and online forms. The total damage amounts to more than 43 million euros.
The Fraud Helpdesk also saw new aspects in fraud practices last year. For example, prior to a telephone call supposedly on behalf of a bank, people were sent phishing e-mails were they were tricked into handing over data. Scammers sometimes even visited victims’ homes to ask for their bank cards.
"Because the victim's laptops and telephones were supposedly infected with a virus, they were also requested. It also happened that the fake bank employee asked if any valuable jewelry was in the house. They supposedly had information that there had been many burglaries nearby, and therefore offered to take the jewelry with them to put in a bank vault," said the Fraud Helpdesk. Some 1,309 reports were received about this form of fraud, including 229 victims who lost a total of more than 3.3 million euros in assets.
The decrease in the number of reports about cybercrime was surprising. Last year there were 4,471 reports compared to 9,933 in 2021. The police have been seeing an increase for years.
A spokesperson for the Fraud Helpdesk was not able to pinpoint a single cause for this. The fact that there are different definitions of cybercrime is one of the possible causes.
Reporting by ANP