Dutch computer criminals are becoming ever smarter, using complete replicas of electronics stores to lure unsuspecting customers with low prices - which are often too low.
Online for a short time
The fake websites are usually put online on Friday evening and are taken down by Monday. During that time, they are able to attract a lot of money, without delivering anything. "We believe that there are one or two criminal gangs active in this area and they are becoming more intelligent and inventive", Thuiswinkel.org's Wijnand Jongen said.
A lot of fake websites used to contain a lot of errors, but nowadays, they are replicated meticulously. For example, a Thuiswinkel.org logo is added to give a false sense of security and then they lure customers with low prices. "They are unfathomable low prices and that which seems too good to be true, is obviously too good to be true", BCC's Jeroen Bank said.
Difficult to fight
He feels there is very little that can be done to counter this type of fraud. "We are with our backs against the wall. These sites are hosted through companies in Panama for example." Trying to take these sites down through mark designation law is extremely difficult and expensive. "Those are expensive procedures which cost somewhere between 10,000 and 20,000 euro per fake store", according to Dixons.nl's Steven Bakker.
According to the Dutch Ombudsman, a lot of internet fraud complaints are disregarded because of a lack of staff. The Dutch police says it is tackling internet fraud, but that they are indeed limited in their approach because of a lack of staff.