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France scam alert: Warning over credit card PIN code thefts

It comes as police also dismantled a ring of fake ticket resellers at the Louvre museum in Paris

A woman typing in her PIN code on a card machine in a restaurant

The scam works when thieves surreptitiously spy on your PIN code and then later steal the card Pic: Jacob Lund / Shutterstock

People in France are being warned over a new credit card scam in which thieves work together to steal bank cards and PIN codes, after a team of three stole €14,000 before being discovered.

The scam, dubbed “back to back”, had been happening recently in Manche, Normandy.

It sees thieves surreptitiously take note of a person’s secret PIN code, such as when they are paying for food at a restaurant and then another scammer later distracts the person and steals their card without them realising.

The scammers then have both the card and the PIN code and can use the card at an ATM or as normal to steal money.

Three men were found to be operating the scam in a restaurant in Coutances, Manche, and had stolen €14,000. One of them was able to be identified and appeared before court on June 1, with an interpreter.

He claimed to only be an “accomplice” and to be used only to write down PIN numbers but his criminal record showed a similar prosecution, leading the prosecutor to ask for a jail term.

The man was sentenced to one year in prison with an electronic bracelet and ordered to pay a fine of €1,450.

Police advise people to be very careful when typing PIN numbers on card machines, especially if the machine is in full view of others, such as in a restaurant setting.

Louvre ticket resale scam

It comes as a team of 14 ticket resellers were arrested in Paris, accused of selling fake tickets to the Louvre museum.

Police officers from the Parisian security directorate (DSPAP) "carried out a vast operation to dismantle the trafficking of counterfeit tickets," police said.

The tickets were being sold to tourists in the queue outside the famous gallery.

The crooks had been collecting paper and electronic tickets from people who had just completed a tour of the museum - and then reselling them on to others for more than the original purchase price.

Eight of the 14 individuals were taken into custody while the other six, who were found to be “in an irregular situation”, were placed in detention as part of the ongoing investigation.

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