SMS scams on the rise in France

Man using smartphone. Reports of SMS scams have increased in France during the coronavirus pandemic (Norwood Themes/Unsplash)
Reports of SMS scams have increased in France during the coronavirus pandemic (Norwood Themes/Unsplash)

Scam messages sent by SMS involving bank card details and unregulated premium-rate numbers have risen in France during the coronavirus pandemic.

Scammers in France, operating largely via text message, have been exploiting the Covid-19 pandemic by playing on people’s fears to con them out of money.

Phony websites taking orders for hand-gel, sham texts from medical authorities, and hoax deliveries are just some of the methods that have been used to extract money from members of the public in France.

Jérôme Notin, director of government organisation Cybermalveillance, which helps victims of cyber crime, confirmed: “At the beginning of the confinement, we observed a rise of 400% in reports of scams by SMS and email.”

He added: “The current period is fertile ground for scams, as individuals have increased their digital activity against a background of high stress.”

Websites selling fake products

Almost 12,000 French consumers were scammed by seven fake websites selling products such as face masks and hand gel. Products which, once they had been ordered, never arrived. 

One of these websites, Pharmacie-Auvergne.fr, sent a burst of phishing messages via SMS, which prompted France’s consumer watchdog (la Direction Générale de la Concurrence, de la Consommation ...

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