The French government has issued a warning over a series of new scams aimed at tricking residents out of money through supposedly legitimate communication from Assurance Maladie or other public services.
Scammers are contacting people by email or text, often claiming that you have a carte Vitale reimbursement waiting to be validated or that you need to transfer the delivery fees for a new card, Service-public.fr states.
The government has also warned of fraudulent activity surrounding workers’ Comptes personnels de formation (CPF), reminding users that their real account will only ever be accessible through moncompteformation.gouv.fr and that they should never share their social security number or password with anyone else.
It also encourages people to be wary of job adverts with offers which appear too good to be true. These job ads are presumably there to collect your personal information.
Residents who are expecting to receive their prime de Noël Christmas bonus payments from the Caisse d’allocations familiales (CAF) or Pôle emploi should also be vigilant, as messages appearing to be from these public bodies could in fact be part of a phishing scam.
Phishing is a type of fraud through which scammers seek to obtain people’s personal information by tricking them into sharing their details voluntarily.
The CAF has reported a rise in instances of phishing and identity theft in recent weeks.
How can I avoid these scams?
If you receive a message and believe that it may not be legitimate, you should:
Check the sender’s email address or phone number, which will not contain the name of the real organisation in question if the message is from a scammer.
Not share your personal information on websites which are not official government portals. Neither Assurance Maladie nor the CAF nor Pôle emploi will ask you for your details outside of their secure web pages.
Think about what the message is asking you to do. For example, Assurance Maladie will not ask you to validate a reimbursement because this is done automatically.
Log into your account on the website of the service in question. If the information communicated in the message you have received is correct, it will also show up in your account.
Not click on any links that may be contained within the email or text.
This type of scam can also involve an answerphone message asking you to ring back on a premium-rate telephone number. If this happens you should check the number provided on the official website of the service.
What should I do if I fall victim to online fraud?
You can report the fraud to various different organisations.
Suspicious emails should be reported to Signal Spam
Strange text messages or calls can be referred to the 33700 platform
To find out more about online scams or to report a phishing incident, you can call Info Escroqueries (French only) on its free hotline 0805 805 817 from Monday to Friday, 09:00-18:30.