Beware phone cons as four arrested in €38m scam
Four staff at a small Paris phone firm have been arrested over a €38million call scam after the fraud squad targeted ‘middlemen’ in cons which fleeced tens of thousands of people.
The workers of Viva Multimedia were accused of ‘organised gang fraud and money laundering’ by providing surcharged phone lines for foreign scammers to use.
The scammer then texts or calls for the customer to call back; once the call is returned the costs start to mount up bringing in from €10 to €200 for the calls. The fraud squad had more than 20 boxes full of complaints.
One girl thought she had won free tickets to Disneyland via a Facebook page and when she called the number given was told the call was free... but ended up with a bill of €194.
The DGCCRF fraud agency says it has investigated 69 firms over the past 18 months and charges are pending against 46 but while scammers were getting increasingly sophisticated they still relied heavily on fake texts, ‘ping’ calls or spam.
It warns people to beware texts advising of an impending delivery, an appointment or a breach of some rule with a number to call to object.
Check numbers against the Numéros SVA site infosva.org which gives full cost details.
Take care over calls from 10-figure numbers starting 08, six-figure numbers starting 118 and four-figure numbers starting with a 3 or a 1. You can also report numbers on the site.
Emails from firms you deal with should also be treated with care in case of phishing attempts for sensitive information.