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Beware email payment scam

Fraudsters clean out couple's bank account after they clicked on fake link in email they thought was from power company

A SCAM email seemingly from power company EDF has cost a UK couple dear when their bank account was emptied – and Connexion warns readers not to fall victim to the same type of attack.

The couple, who have a holiday home in the Languedoc, said they were set to leave after a visit when they received an email from EDF. “It said our bill hadn’t been paid. It was only €19 so I just clicked the link to the EDF site and paid it.”

Now, the couple, who do not want to be identified, say their bank account with La Poste has been cleaned out and warn others to beware.

“We had had problems before, when Orange cut us off because we didn't receive their bill and it went unpaid. So we just thought we ought to pay it at once."

They didn't think anything of it. The email and website looked genuine, but the email was a hoax and the “EDF” link took them to a fake site. The bank account details they entered allowed the scammers to empty their French bank account.

"We didn't even notice until we got home to the UK and there was the real bill from the EDF. We rang up and discovered what had happened but by that time it was too late."

The couple rang La Banque Postale but said: “They weren't very sympathetic. They said there was nothing they could do about it since we had effectively given the money away. They didn't accept that we had been defrauded. They have now blocked the account but the money has gone. We were planning to have some work done on the house, so we lost around €3,000."

La Banque Postale warns people never to click on links in emails but to type in the bank website details separately. The same advice applies to other similar emails – as scams have been circulating in the name of the services des impôts or telephone and gas companies.

It is easy for scammers to set up official-looking emails and websites that have no connection with the real bank and customers should always be suspicious of emails asking for money.

If in doubt for the Banque Postale, contact them on 3639 option 5, forward the suspect email to alertespam@labanquepostale.fr and delete it from your mailbox.

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