In recent years, the internet has boomed. More and more often we spend our time in the online world. With the advent of online bank accounts, payment options, marketplaces and payment requests, we are increasingly arranging not only personal but also financial matters online. It is often arranged with just one click of the button. The internet has brought us a lot. But we should not be mistaken. The Internet and its rapid development not only bring conveniences but also risks. After all, internet scam lies in wait.
Every day, millions of people buy and sell valuable items on the internet. Usually everything goes well and as expected for both parties. But too often the mutual trust is violated by a party and unfortunately the following situation arises: you pay according to the agreements, but then receive nothing or you are persuaded to send your product in advance, but then never receive a payment. Both cases may be a scam. This is the most common and well-known form of internet scams. This form mainly occurs on online trading places, such as eBay, but also via advertisements on social media such as Facebook. In addition, this form of internet scam concerns the cases in which there is a fraudulent web shop, the so-called fake shop.
However, internet scams cover more than just “eBay cases”. When you use a certain program on your computer, you may experience internet scams in a different guise. A person pretending to be an employee of that program company can convince you that the program is out of date and that it poses certain security risks to your computer, when this is not the case at all. Subsequently, such an “employee” offers you to purchase a new program at an affordable price. If you agree and pay, the “employee” will inform you that the payment has unfortunately not been successful, and you have to make the payment again. While all payments have been made correctly and the money has been received multiple times for the same “program”, the so-called “employee” will continue to do this trick as long as you continue to pay. You can also encounter the same trick in a “customer service jacket”.
Scam is punishable under article 326 of the Dutch Criminal Code. However, not every situation can be classified as such a scam. It is necessary that you, as a victim, have been misled to hand over a good or money. Deception may arise if the party with whom you have done business has used a false name or capacity. In that case, a seller presents himself as reliable, while his contact details are not correct at all. Deception can also consist of tricks, such as the previously described. Finally, it is possible that in the context of deception there is talk of a weave of fictions, in other words an accumulation of lies. Only the non-delivery of goods for which payment has been made is therefore insufficient to accept fraud and cannot directly lead to a conviction of the seller.
It may therefore be the case under certain circumstances that you feel scammed, but that there is no question of fraud within the meaning of Article 326 of the Criminal Code. However, it is possible that in your case the civil law – road is open to tackle the “scammer” through liability. Liability can arise in various ways. The two most common and known are tort liability and contractual liability. If you have not entered into an agreement with the “scammer”, you may be able to rely on the first form of liability. This is the case when it concerns an unlawful act, the act can be attributed to the perpetrator, you have suffered damage and this damage is the result of the act in question. If this terms are met, a claim or obligation in the form of compensation may arise.
Contractual liability will usually be involved in the “eBay cases”. After all, you have made agreements according to a good. If the other party fails to fulfil its obligations under the agreement, it may be committing a breach of contract. Once there is a breach of contract, you can claim the fulfilment of the agreement or compensation. It is also wise to give the other party the last chance (term) to return your money or send the product by means of a notice of default.
In order to institute civil proceedings, you need to know who the “scammer” is exactly. You must also engage a lawyer for civil proceedings. Law & More has lawyers who are both experts in the field of criminal law and civil law. Do you recognize yourself in one of the situations described earlier, do you want to know if you are a victim of a scam or do you have any questions about scam? Please contact the lawyers of Law & More. Our lawyers are not only happy to provide you with advice, but also assist you in criminal or civil proceedings if desired.