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Romance Scam Research Center

2020: NL: Reporting cybercrime victimization: determinants, motives, and previous experiences

van de Weijer, Steve; Leukfeldt, Rutger; Van der Zee, Sophie.  Policing; Bradford Vol. 43, Iss. 1, (2020): 17-34. DOI:10.1108/PIJPSM-07-2019-0122



Cybercrime rates have increased rapidly during the last couple of decades, resulting in cybercrimes becoming common crimes. However, most victims do not report cybercrimes to the police. Therefore, this study examines reporting cybercrime victimization and provides insights into the role of the police in this process.


A sample of 595 individuals was used. All respondents were shown three vignettes about hypothetical cybercrime victimization and were asked to imagine that this situation happened to them. Four crime and reporting characteristics were manipulated across vignettes. Respondents' intentions to report to the police and to other organizations were used as the dependent variables in regression analyses. Four random factors in the vignettes (i.e. type of crime, seriousness of crime, victim–perpetrator relationship, and reporting modality), as well as several characteristics of the respondents were included in the regression models as independent variables.


The type of cybercrime is the most important predictor for reporting behaviors. Other determinants are: more serious offenses were more often reported and offenses are less often reported in situations where the victim personally knows the perpetrator. Furthermore, there is large discrepancy between intended and actual cybercrime reporting. These findings provide valuable insights into the factors that influence reporting behavior in the real world. Only a fifth of respondents indicated that they would not report cybercrime victimization to the police. This implies that attempts at improving reporting rates should not solely be focused on improving people's attitudes, but also on removing obstacles to turn these attitudes into actions.


In the current study, the authors contribute to the existing literature by asking a large sample from the general population in the Netherlands about both their intended reporting behavior (i.e. a vignette study) and their actual reporting behavior (i.e. self-reports) of victimization of a wide variety of different types of cybercrime. Determinants of both reporting to the police as well as to other organizations are examined. Moreover, respondents are asked about motivations behind their decision to (not) report a cybercrime to the police. Last, people were asked about their past experiences with reporting cybercrime victimization to the police."

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