New telephone scam costing people in France hundreds of euros

The scammers target landline phones, pretending to be service providers, and trick victims into calling a premium-rate number to test the line

24 May 2021
Person making call from landline. New telephone scam costing people in France hundreds of euros

Victims may be eligible for reimbursement from their telephone operators Pic: Gajus / Shutterstock

By Joanna York

A new telephone scam in France targeting landline phones is on the rise.

Upon answering the phone, victims of the scam are told the call is from their telephone operator.

The ‘operator’ then runs through tests to verify the line is working, saying they are necessary in order to make sure the line does not get cut whilst repair works are being done.

For many people a cut line would mean no phone and no internet connection – enough of an incentive to go through with the tests. 

The ‘operator’ then asks recipients to call back on a number that they are told is free, but is actually a high-cost overseas call.

Hundreds of people only discovered they were victims of the scam months later, when they received a phone bill showing the call to an African country cost them hundreds of euros.

The scam has also been run in the form of an answerphone message from the so-called operator asking recipients to call back on a supposedly free number.

Victims should contact their phone line operators to see if they can claim a total or partial reimbursement for the scam call.

You can also block calls to premium rate and overseas numbers from your landline.

All service providers must legally provide information on how to do this, although the process of blocking is slightly different from provider to provider.

You may be able to change your preferences via your account online under the title blockage des appels surtaxés

Alternatively contact your telephone service provider directly to find out how to block calls.

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