People in France can now report scams and fraud via a new smartphone app.
It is an extension of the existing Signal Conso government reporting website, which has been used by more than a quarter of a million consumers in the last three years.
“This app is an ally to consumers on all kinds of phones,” said Olivia Grégoire, France’s minister for small and medium enterprises, trade, crafts and tourism, launching the app on Monday (May 22).
“Three-quarters of people in France have a smartphone, so it makes sense to give them this tool. They will now be protected via their mobile.
“It’s not as revolutionary as the iPod,” she joked, “but it’s still pretty important.”
Ms Grégoire said France’s fraud and consumer office la DGCCRF (Direction générale de la Concurrence, de la Consommation et de la Répression des fraudes) has been working on it for several months.
On the go… and in English
The app is set to be more practical and enable users to report issues on the go. It will be updated regularly with new functionality, Ms Grégoire added.
With two major upcoming international events set to take place in France soon (the Rugby World Cup in September-October this year, and the Olympic Games in 2024), the app will also be available in English, and able to be downloaded by up to 16 million visitors.
Since 2020, people in France have been advised to report any scams or fraud to the website Signal Conso, which is run by the DGCCRF.
Ms Grégoire said that in the past three years, 320,000 people had used the site, and there had been around 500,000 reports.
Report-worthy scams could include a misleading advert, an order that never arrives, a dirty restaurant, a fraudulent website, a too-good-to-be-true offer, or an illegal marketing phone call on a weekend.
You can also report issues including:
Food poisoning, suspected to be linked to a restaurant
Healthcare professional issues
Poor services (such as childcare, hairdressing, cleaning, etc)
Negligent or bad car and vehicle servicing
Poor quality construction or renovation work
If a report is found to be of merit, the DGCCRF will contact the company in question in a bid to get a response and find a solution. Depending on the seriousness of the report, the fraud office can perform checks and move to sanctions.