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Scam alert in France: watch out for fake train ticket payment devices

Travellers should note that real ticket machine contactless machines are yellow with a blue light, while the fraudulent versions look different

Train travellers are being warned about a scam involving ticket machine contactless devices Pic: Pixavril / Shutterstock

People buying, exchanging or printing train tickets at automatic SNCF ticket machines are being warned by the Police nationale about a scam involving their contactless payment devices. 

Fake boxes which look like they could be legitimate have been installed in some stations to trick customers into touching their card to a machine that will steal their money. 

It should be noted that legitimate contactless payment devices are yellow with a blue light, and the fake ones are just black and white. They have been spotted in Ile-de-France. 

If in doubt, it is better to insert your card into the ticket machine’s chip and pin device rather than using contactless. 

If you believe that you have lost money to this scam, you should contact your bank, which should reimburse sums which have not been authorised by you. 

SNCF has said that two fake contactless devices have so far been spotted, and that they were “immediately taken away,” without any customers losing money to them to the operator’s knowledge. 

This type of fraudulent contactless device is not new; in July France’s restaurant industry was also targeted by a card machine scam. 

At the time of payment, the scammer would distract the waiter or waitress, while the other would swap the card machine for their own identical version, meaning that all the money taken by the restaurant would in fact be going into the fraudster’s bank account. 

Read more: Cannes restaurants lose thousands of euros to card machine scam

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