Nearly 2.5 million people victims of cybercrime in 2021

© Hollandse Hoogte / Rick Nederstigt Fotografie
In 2021, nearly 2.5 million people in the Netherlands aged 15 or older (17 percent of the population) said they had fallen victim to cybercrime. Most victims encountered online scams and fraud. One in three victims have had to deal with mental or financial problems because of the experience. Less than half of the victims reported the case, while less than 20 percent filed a police report. This is reported by Statistics Netherlands (CBS) on the basis of the Safety Monitor 2021.

Ten percent - over 1.5 million people - fell victim to online scams and fraud. Most cases concerned purchase fraud (7 percent), i.e. goods or services they purchased online were not delivered despite the payment. Seven percent were victims of hacking, in most cases into an account. Two percent were confronted with online threats and harassment. This includes threats of violence, cyberbullying, online stalking and shamesexting.

Victims of cybercrime, 2021
 2021 (%)
Cybercrime total16.9
Online scams and fraud9.7
Purchase fraud6.9
Sales fraud1.4
Payment fraud1.3
Identity fraud0.8
Hacking of accounts5.7
Hacking of device2.9
Online threats and harassment2.3
Other online offences0.6

Over 100 thousand people financially duped by phishing

Phishing is an online scam in which the perpetrator pretends to be someone else and approaches people online with false stories in order to extort money. Often, many people are approached at the same time. In 2021, more than two out of three (68 percent) of all Dutch people aged 15 years or older say they have received at least one phone call, email or other message in the past 12 months that was (probably) from a scammer. Two percent said they fell for it. Almost half of them (0.8%, over 100 thousand people) ended up losing money because of it.

Online threats and harassment have the biggest impact on victims

Almost 1 in 5 victims of online crime say they experience consequences of what happened to them, especially emotionally or psychologically. The impact on the victim varies greatly by type of crime or incident. Victims of online threats and harassment experienced problems more often than victims of online scams and fraud and victims of hacking. For example, more than half of victims of online bullying say they experience problems because of it, compared to just over 10 percent of those who have experienced hacking or purchase fraud.

Consequences of online crime for victims, 20211)
 Total (% of all victims)Emotional of mental problems (% of all victims)Financial problems (% of all victims)
Cybercrime total18.214.86.5
Sales fraud23.815.412.6
Identity fraud2320.36.2
Payment fraud17.111.98.6
Purchase fraud13.89.17.6
Other online offences28.724.98.6
1)A combination of problems could also be reported per incident.

Less than half report online crime, 1 in 5 contact the police

Of all victims of online crime, 47 percent have reported what happened to them to an authority or within their own circle; 19 percent have reported it to the police. Fraud in payment transactions was reported by over three quarters of the victims to an authority (e.g. bank, police, Fraud Help Desk). A quarter of these victims reported to the police. Victims of phishing were most likely to report it, at 55 percent. Hacking was reported least often. 

Cybercrime shared as information and reported to the police, 2021
 Shared as information (% of all victims)Reported to the police (% of all victims)
Cybercrime total46.518.7
Payment fraud76.624.9
Identity fraud56.432.1
Sales fraud46.624.8
Purchase fraud40.620
Other online offences45.623.1