Stay alert: French tax officials show examples of tax fraud emails

Familiarising yourself with scam emails is one way of avoiding falling victim

A view of a keyboard with the word ‘scam’ on it
The emails may look official but there are several signs that show they are scams

The French online safety agency has shared examples of fraudulent emails in a bid to help the public get better at detecting tax and email scams.

The website shared images of the emails that it had identified as fraudulent. Many of them seek to steal the identity and financial details of the taxpayer.

They often threaten the would-be victim by saying that they are suspected of tax fraud, and that they must fix the issue within 24-48 hours or face severe sanctions.

The ‘letters’ can look very convincing. They often have the logos of the French tax office and financial authority (e.g. the Direction Générale des Finances Publiques, DGFiP, or the Inspection Générales des Finances, IGF) at the top, and ‘official’ signatures and stamps at the bottom.

They typically invite you to pay by responding to the message or emailing another address, and sending your bank details. Some even include links that appear to take the victim to an official tax webpage, with a form where they can fill in their details.

The DGFiP states: "In a real case of tax audit, the DGFiP will send an official paper letter with acknowledgement of receipt (avec accusé de réception), and will never send such a notification by email.”

How can I avoid being taken in by these kinds of scam emails? 

Advice includes:

  • Familiarise yourself with the kinds of letters and emails that are fraudulent (see the images below). They may look and sound very official, and mention the logos of the authorities, and the names of their directors. They may include bank details that they say you should use to pay. However, they very rarely contain any of your personal details.

  • Pay attention to details. For example, fraudulent emails may show official logos at the head of the page, but these logos may be poor quality or look ‘squashed’. The letter may also appear quite general, and will not contain your personal details or tax number. This is because the letters are sent to thousands of people in the hope that some will bite. The emails and letters may also have errors such as poor-quality graphics, bad formatting, and/or spelling and grammar errors.

  • Never click on a link, use an email address within the email, write back by hitting ‘reply’, or otherwise engage with the email.

  • Do not respond to emails that could be a scam. This may show scammers that you are real, your email address is active, and that you are ‘interested’ in their message.

  • Never send your bank details via email, or make a tax payment via an online form sent to you by email.

  • Double check any communication or request for payment from the tax authorities by contacting them separately yourself, and/or logging in independently to your tax account at or the smartphone app impots.gouv.

  • Never share your tax account details with anyone except people you 100% trust.

  • Report any scam or fraudulent message to the Signal Spam website and the Interior Ministry site Pharos at

What if I accidentally fall victim to a scam?

If you believe you have been scammed, the government advice is: 

  • Inform your bank immediately. Try to stop the transfer if it has not yet been made. Otherwise, ask for the funds to be returned. Your bank may require a copy of your complaint in order to investigate your request (see below).

  • Keep any proof. Keep the messages you receive (e-mails, etc.), the bank details of the fraudster and any other information you may need to lodge a complaint.

  • Lodge a complaint with the police station or gendarmerie, or in writing with the public prosecutor at your local court, providing all the evidence you have.

  • For further advice, you can contact the Interior Ministry’s free Info Escroqueries platform on 0 805 805 817 (free call). It is open from 9:00 to 18:30, Monday to Friday.

You can check if you may have been scammed by using a tool - the ‘Diagnostiquer un Incident’ service - on the website page here.

Scroll to the bottom of the page and click on the turquoise ‘Démarrer un diagnostique’ button to begin. This service could give you an idea of whether something was a scam or not. If in doubt, follow the steps listed above.

A closer look at the scam emails

The letters can look very official
Some have official 'seals' and stamps