Launch of campaign against cybercrime - Online fraud can happen to anyone

The central government campaign 'Laat je niet interneppen' focuses on recognising and preventing online crime. A commonly used crime technique is misleading people online. By exploiting personal situations and posing as someone else, criminals manage to deceive their targets.

The shrewd ways of online deception make everyone vulnerable to being swindled, according to recent research.

"If you were standing face to face with a criminal in real life, you might not be so easily misled. Online, this is much more challenging. An increasing number of people are falling victim to online crime. Perpetrators are becoming more cunning, and a real message can sometimes be difficult to distinguish from a fake one. With this campaign, we aim to help people recognise online deception more quickly so that they check the sender first and simply click away when in doubt," explains Minister of Justice and Security Dilan Yesilgöz-Zegerius.

Interest in learning

Some 2.2 million Dutch people were affected by online crime last year, according to Statistics Netherlands (CBS). Alongside the financial damage they suffered as a result, they also often experience emotional damage. They feel less safe and have less trust in others, for example.

"Our research shows that Dutch people have an interest in learning more about how to recognise and prevent online scams," said Mara Verheijen, one of the authors of the study 'Digitale Vaardigheden van Nederlanders' (Digital Skills in the Netherlands), conducted by Centerdata on behalf of the Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations. The new campaign titled 'Laat je niet interneppen' will contribute to this.

Exploiting personal situations

How does it work? Criminals often exploit a personal situation online to extract personal information. They pretend to be someone else. Someone who can be trusted, such as a friend or a shop assistant with a great offer. Criminals contact their targets by email, SMS or WhatsApp and exploit human character traits such as curiosity, trust, greed, fear and lack of knowledge to make their move.

Government campaign

The Ministry of Justice and Security and the Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations' multi-year campaign calls on people to thoroughly check the sender of online messages and, when in doubt, to click or swipe away. At, information is available on how to recognise this type of online fraud and how to counter it.