Authorities have warned taxpayers to be on the lookout for the latest text message scam doing the rounds in France, which sees fraudsters impersonating the Direction Générale des Finances Publiques (DGFiP).
The text asks people to click on a link to confirm their mobile phone number - but, of course, it leads to a malicious site.
This site, which matches the colour scheme and general layout of the official tax website’s homepage, asks users to fill in their numéro fiscal, tax account password, and their phone number.
After giving this information, the website sends users to the front page of the official tax site, making the request seem even more genuine.
Those who are caught out are recommended to immediately change their password and check their bank account details over the coming days to make sure this information has not been changed.
How does the scam work?
Scammers will send out a text that reads:
“Alerte DGFIP : Pour des raisons de sécurité, veuillez confirmer votre numéro de téléphone mobile avant le 27/05/23. Rendez-vous directement sur ‘Impots-2023.com’.”
In English: “DGFIP Alert: For security reasons, please confirm your mobile phone number before 27/05/23. Go directly to "Impots-2023.com”
The link ‘Impots-2023.com’ is fake of course – the official site for declarations is impots.gouv.fr/accueil.
One way to quickly recognise that the text is fake is because the text is sent from a 06 number, meaning it comes from a mobile phone and not an official service.
Another is that the May 27 deadline does not correspond to any of the tax deadlines – and the DGFiP would never text you with a direct link asking you to confirm information they already hold.
“We've been receiving alerts about this scam since the middle of last week, and it has [appeared frequently] this weekend,” said Jean-Jacques Latour, Director of cybersecurity expertise for cybersecurity platform cybermalveillance.gouv.fr.
The website the link takes users to looks “totally credible,” he added, meaning even eagle-eyed taxpayers might be caught unawares.
Tax authorities are aware of the problem
“We can't yet see the purpose [of the scam],” said Mr Latour, although it probably relates to accessing an individual’s bank account too.
Previous tax site scams have enabled fraudsters to change bank account information from a user, install a fake RIB number and then ask for tax credit refunds.
The tax authorities said on Tuesday that they were aware of the site, and are attempting to get it removed as quickly as possible.
The DGFiP told actu.fr that “these kinds of fraud attempts," happen every tax year and that they regularly run campaigns highlighting "good practices to adopt in the face of these fraud attempts.”
They also issued a reminder that taw authorities “never ask for bank details, personal information, supplier and customer identification data, information on invoices or references of financial contacts... by email or telephone.”