France: 4-fold rise in online shopping scams last month

Online scams skyrocketed last month, with scammers targeting online shoppers by email, SMS, instant messaging, and social media

2 December 2020
Parcels in van waiting to be delivered. France: 440% rise in online shopping scams in NovemberOnline shoppers in France are being increasingly targeted by scams while waiting for a parcel to be delivered
By Joanna York

The prevalence of online shopping in 2020 has coincided with a rise in cyber scams in France, which peaked in November. 

Scams can happen at any stage of the online shopping process but are increasingly common when packages are being delivered. 

Cybersecurity company Checkpoint told news source La Depeche: “Scams at delivery [stage] rose by 440% in November. Scammers disguise themselves as Amazon, DHL and FedEx, and send parcel tracking emails, or say there is a problem with the delivery to encourage customers to give out their personal details.”

La Poste warns customers to be wary

National postal service La Poste has launched an online campaign on social media and email warning customers to be on guard against scams, and has warned about parcel delivery scams in particular.

It said in a statement: “With the rise in online shopping, accelerated by the health situation, instances of fraudulent attempts to obtain personal information have also risen. [These include] emails or SMSs intending to illegally obtain personal details or money. 

“As is the case for many other large businesses, La Poste has had its brand misappropriated by those attempting to trick customers.”

A photo list of common scam messages to be wary of, which falsely claim to be sent from La Poste, is available here, on La Poste’s website

Many scams are carried out by email, but SMS, instant messaging and social media are also being used. 

 

Companies must tighten measures

As well as encouraging customers to be wary of scams, companies themselves are taking action. 

La Poste said: “We operate a permanent watch online and on social media, and our teams take proactive steps such as blocking sites. Every week, tens of sites are subject to demands for closure. Depending on the situation, La Poste also maintains the right to take legal action to obtain reparations.” 

Loïc Guézo, senior strategy director at another cybersecurity company, Proofpoint, said: “Online sales sites are responsible for arming themselves against threats and protecting their clients by adopting standardised practices for the authentication of emails.”

People who believe they have received a fraudulent or suspect message are advised to not click on any links, or give out details. 

Instead, they should close the message, and contact their provider directly for information about orders that have made or are waiting for.

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