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

Readers report being targeted by fraudsters both online and while out shopping

A person holding their French bank card in front of their computer
Scams affect thousands of people in France per year
Published Last updated

Several readers have contacted The Connexion following attempts by criminal gangs to trick them out of their money. Some of them fell victim.

Fraudsters often rely on the victims’ desire to do the right thing, be it to pay a fine or to help someone in need. They frequently involve rushing their victims into a hasty decision in an unfamiliar situation.

Here four types of scam that you should be aware of:

Overpayment scams

These scams involve the victim ‘paying back’ fraudsters for money that is usually never sent, or sent then cancelled.

These scams are common online, but on March 12, a reader - who wishes to remain anonymous - contacted The Connexion having fallen victim to a repayment scam on a supermarket car park:

“As we were loading our groceries into the car, 2 men came running towards us, asking for help with a perfect British or Irish accent. They said they had just been robbed and had no money on them. As a foreigner in France, I could relate to their anxiety.

“They said they could transfer money to my bank account and asked if I could withdraw it in cash. I had my misgivings but I felt sorry for them. The younger of the pair took out his phone, entered my IBAN and made the transfer, then showed me the proof.

“He had sent me €1,200, plus a further €80 to thank me. They accompanied me to an ATM. I hadn’t received the payment but they started to get impatient waiting.

“They told me I could take photos of them and of their car, which I did. So I made the withdrawal, right in front of a security camera, and gave them €1,200 in cash.

“Needless to say, the money never arrived in my account. I reported everything to the police and even gave them the photos and licence plate, but so far nothing has happened. My money is gone.”

Read more: Bank call scams: why more people are being caught out in France 

Text message links to fake administrative websites

Nobody can be expected to be familiar with the myriad of French administrative websites and their practices. However, if you receive a text message containing a link purporting to be that of an official website, do not click on it. 

Administrative websites do not send unsolicited text messages. Typically, they only send text messages to confirm your identity as part of their two-step security protocols. 

It is relatively easy for fraudsters to make a website that looks official enough to trick people at first glance.

Several readers have contacted The Connexion after receiving messages purporting to be from the body that collects driving fines, the Agence Nationale de Traitement Automatisé des Infractions (ANTAI). The messages typically resemble this:

ANTAI-info : Dernier rappel avant majoration.

Vous avez une contravention impayée d’un montant de 35 €, dernier rappel avant majoration.

Référence du dossier : 208581

Consulter votre dossier d’infraction via: [link to fraudulent website]

Readers have reported similar messages claiming to be from La Poste or advising them to renew their carte Vitale, or to renew their Crit’air sticker.

The common theme in each of these scams is the fraudulent link sent by text message.

The ending is unique to government websites. 

However, scammers can still include gouv in their fraudulent website addresses. For example:



Both of these official-looking addresses end in publicly available domain names (.fr and .gouv). Similarly, websites that begin with “https” are publicly available and by no means proof of legitimacy. 

Fraud watchdog scams

Criminals are claiming to be anti-fraud agents, cold-calling victims with a warning that their bank card has been used abroad, according to the (real) French anti-fraud watchdog the Direction générale de la concurrence, de la consommation et de la répression des fraudes (DGCCRF). 

The fake anti-fraud agents convince their victims to give up their bank details, including their card and pin number for ‘security reasons’. 

Announcing the scam, the DGCCRF warned that it never calls people to ask for information like this. Nonetheless, the telephone number displayed is indeed that of the DGCCRF (0809 540 550).

Fake job offers

This is a particularly damaging type of scam that targets jobseekers, at once taking their money and sapping their hope of employment.

Many of these scams currently circulating in France start by a text message with a variant of:

Bonjour, votre CV a été approuvé par notre société, emploi en ligne à temps partiel…” (Hi, your CV has been approved by our company specialising in part-time online work…)

The format of the scam has many variations as criminal gangs adapt it according to the information they receive. It frequently proceeds as follows:

  • The victim receives a text that claims their profile is of interest, promising a competitive salary for work from home

  • The text tells the victim to respond via WhatsApp or Telegram

  • The victim is asked to provide their details including a scan of their passport, their home address and their social security number - anything the criminals can use later or sell

  • The victim then does a job. This can be anything from leaving reviews, writing reports or even translating complex documents

  • The perpetrators can then either proceed to an ‘overpayment scam’ or tell the victim to pay a subscription fee for their ‘online payment portal’

The criminal gangs involved in these fake job offers might have access to the victim’s real CV and have no qualms about wasting the victim’s time.

“We have seen a lot of this lately,” government cybercrime expert Jean-Jacques Latour told Le Parisien in March. “People lose thousands of euros and never get paid for their work: they always have to pay more to get it.”

Read more: 33 million social security numbers hacked in France: beware scammers 

How to stay safe from scammers

Do not open text message links you receive from unknown senders, particularly those purporting to be authoritative bodies reclaiming money or information.

Do not be rushed into action against your better judgement.

Report text message scams by forwarding them to 33700. This number helps the authorities identify and shut-down the scammers’ websites as fast as possible.

If you do fall victim, the French fraud watchdog DGCCRF says that banks might invoke your negligence to avoid repaying your losses. Remember that, in such cases, the burden of proof is on the bank.