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

One-in-two people in France have been the victim of an internet scamming attempt, according to French government figures

The new filter will aim to stop people from logging on to fraudulent sites in the first place, and cut off SMS and email scams ‘at the root’, the minister said
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The French government wants to create an online ‘anti-fraud’ filter to protect people from being the victim of email and text message scams

France’s Minister for Digital Transition, Jean-Noël Barrot, said he wanted it to be simple and free for users, writing about the idea in the Journal du Dimanche.

The bill for the system is set to be presented to the cabinet on Wednesday (May 10) and will be studied by parliament before the summer. Mr Barrot is aiming to have the system in place before September.

He wrote: “Who hasn’t received an SMS inviting you to log in to your CPF (personal training credits) or Ameli (health insurance) account, so [scammers] can steal your personal data or bank details?”

He said that 50% of people in France have been “the victim of an internet scamming attempt” and that his plan would aim to “cut off the problem at its root”.

The anti-fraud filter is intended to “warn the user at the moment when they are about to connect to a site that has been identified as negative. It will take the form of a message that will appear between the user and the internet site, to avoid them being taken victim”, Mr Barrot wrote.

The aim is to help users in advance, rather than after they log in (as usually happens now).

Mr Barrot said the goal is to “end massive SMS fraud campaigns and restore the confidence of our citizens online”.

The filter will also work for companies and larger organisations and “as a barrier against the theft of data”, he said.

Scams over email and SMS are common in France.

Some of the most recent include a scam inviting people to click a link to save on their energy bills. Others include emails that appear to come from popular websites, scams that ask you to pay money to have a parcel delivered, and emails saying you need to renew your carte Vitale or Crit’Air car sticker.

Anyone who believes they have been a victim of an internet scam in France can report it to the new service, THESEE (traitement harmonisé des enquêtes et signalements pour les e-escroqueries or uniform processing of inquiries into and reports of online scams).

Read more: France launches new online platform for reporting internet scams

However, SMS and email are not the only ways that fraud spreads; last month police also warned about a telephone scam that involves scammers pretending to be police officers investing fraud on Transcash cards.

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