Dutch banks report a worrying increase in damage in payments due to (online) fraud and scams.

A total of 39.5 million euros in damage was suffered in 2020, the Dutch Payments Association and the Dutch Banking Association (NVB) say on Friday.

Bank helpdesk fraud in particular is booming.

Bank helpdesk fraud hardly occurred in 2019, but in 2020 it caused a total loss of 26.7 million euros.

With this form of fraud, scammers call from an existing bank phone number.

Then they pretend to be a bank employee and then take money from people.

Phishing, in which people are led to a fake bank page to steal information, also caused a lot of damage.

In total, the phishing damage amounted to 12.8 million euros compared to 7.9 million euros in 2019.

The outbreak of COVID-19 is cited by the NVB and the Dutch Payments Association as the main cause for the sharp increase in payment fraud.

"Because we keep more online contact with friends, web shops, companies and authorities through corona, it is easier for fraudsters to respond to this and reach potential victims online."

According to the associations, scammers are becoming increasingly convincing, for example because sites seem more real and because fewer spelling mistakes are made.

In addition, people share more personal information via web shops, for example.

If the data subsequently ends up in a data breach, criminals can use that information to fool people, for example if they approach them and pretend to be the bank.

Banks are legally obliged to compensate customers for damage, unless the customer himself is grossly negligent.