New way to check if a website or email is fraudulent in France

The free portal checks your link against its database of scam addresses

The new service checks URLs against already-reported scams to help people determine if a link is genuine or not

A new online portal to help you check if a website or email is fraudulent or a known scam has now launched in France - a useful tool as scams become ever more complex and convincing.

Cybersecure, from network Orange, launched on June 6. It is free to use, even if you are not an Orange customer.

How does the website work?

You can copy and paste a URL or text into the website’s form, and the website will check if it matches a link or site that is already known to the Orange Cyberdéfense database. Orange Cyberdéfense is the operator’s cybersecurity branch. 

Usually, the response will be instantaneous, but in the event that the link cannot be found, a human expert will take over, check the site’s reliability, and get back to you within 12 hours.

If the link is found to be fraudulent, the URL will be added to the general database. 

Read also: ‘Smishing’: Warning over this common scamming trick in France 
Read also: Data of Free internet and phone clients in France stolen and on sale 

Is it reliable? 

Orange Cyberdéfense is trustworthy, but the site depends on users to become increasingly reliable. The more people use it to check fraudulent URLs, the more accurate and helpful it will be. 

The site’s homepage also displays the number of checks already carried out, as another way to encourage people to use it more. At the time of writing, there had been 159,554 checks.

The portal “is not a 100% threat detection method”, said Orange, as it depends on a URL having been flagged before to show it as a possible threat or scam.

“Some high-risk sites may not be identified, and some safe sites may be mistakenly identified as high-risk,” states Orange in its terms and conditions. “In any event, it is up to the user to remain vigilant, even if the URL is considered secure by the service.”

Read also: Seven common scams to watch out for in France
Read also: Scammers pose as anti-fraud agency: 4 scams to watch out for in France 

Is the site free to use?

Yes, although there is also a paying option that allows users to secure up to 10 devices.

Orange Cyberdéfense also offers help with staying safe and avoiding online scams online, has recent news on the latest scams doing the rounds, as well as a number of free digital workshops that are available for sign-up on the website.

Read also: Online and text scams: France plans warning system to prevent fraud 

How can I avoid website or email scams?

Even if you think a message could possibly be genuine, it is best to err on the side of caution, and follow the following advice:

  • Never click on a link sent in an email (or a text message)

  • Instead, navigate to the website manually in a separate browser, and check the URL carefully

  • Do not enter your payment details on a website sent by email

  • If in doubt, do not click or fill in any forms or pay any money, and contact the relevant authority, agency, or company first to check if the request or message is genuine

If you think you have fallen victim to a scam, call your bank, and report it to this government website.