Warning over scams around obligatory car checks in France

Scammers are trying to convince people that the law says they must change their windscreen

The scammers trick victims into getting their insurance to pay for a new windscreen
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A scam call to convince people that they must change their windscreen is doing the rounds in France.

Scammers call vehicle owners pretending to be government officials and claim victims have to change their old windscreens due to a specific law (although the law does not exist).

Fraudsters often have access to their victim’s personal information, car registration and contrôle technique (roadworthiness test) history, making them seem more legitimate.

A reader from Limoges contacted The Connexion following one such call from a man trying to convince her that she needed to change her windscreen.

“He had all my information, my name, my address, my phone number and the date of my last contrôle technique,” she said.

“He tried very hard to convince me that he was official, mentioning a law that says I need to change my windscreen,” she added.

The scam has become relatively widespread since 2022, with one version successfully convincing at least 20 people in the Nantes area that their windscreen needed to be changed.

How does this scam work?

Windscreen scammers are typically from unscrupulous garages.

The scammers call their victim, informing them of a (non-existent) European or French law requiring old windscreens to be replaced.

Next, the scammers request the victim’s car insurance details.

They then contact the insurance company, informing it that the car windscreen is damaged.

The insurer then pays the scammer.

Typically the scammers do indeed replace the windscreen, however both the work and the replacement windscreen will be of very poor quality. Attempts by the victim to call foul at this point are ignored by the garage.

With the average windscreen replacement costing €766, the operation can show a healthy profit margin for the garage.

How do scammers get car information?

In 2022 only 50% of garages were even partially compliant with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which prevents companies from sharing data unless they have explicit authorisation to do so.

The scammer had our reader’s name, address, phone number, car registration and contrôle technique information, so it is highly likely that this information was leaked, sold or stolen from another garage.

Read more: Warning to drivers over scam parking fine tickets in France

‘I told him I thought it was a scam’

Fortunately in this case the scam was unsuccessful. Our reader did not believe the pitch.

“I thought: why would the government make people with old cars change their windscreens. You can’t just trust people calling you out of the blue like this and he was trying far too hard to convince me,” she said.

“When I told him I thought it was a scam he just hung up. It's a worry that he had my personal information but these days that’s almost to be expected,” she added.

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