French scam alert: Watch out for texts about Crit’Air stickers

Fraudsters posing as officials use the messages to try to trick people into sharing their bank details

A warning has been issued over a new scam relating to the Crit’Air sticker system
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A new warning has been issued over a text scam relating to France’s Crit’Air low emission zone system.

People are sent a message supposedly from the Crit’Air system, stating: “Nos agents ont constaté que votre véhicule n’était pas muni de la vignette réglementaire Crit’Air 2022” (Our agents have observed that your vehicle was not equipped with the reglementary Crit’Air 2022 sticker).

Credit: Connexion reader

It then invites the potential victim to click on a link to order their sticker. The link, however, leads to fake sites which ask users to provide their car registration details and then to pay a sum by entering their card number.

The initial cost may not seem significant, but the scammers can then use the bank details to take more money from the account.

In reality, Crit’Air stickers are only available to buy – for around €3.70 – at the official website

“The official Crit’Air ministry site does not send SMS messages to users [asking them] to buy stickers,” the service has said.

This scam is an example of phishing, which involves sending messages appearing to be from an official source to obtain someone’s bank details.

If you receive any such text or email and you think it is suspicious – if the link seems strange or there are spelling mistakes, for example – do not click anything and delete the message.

If you are worried, you can get in touch with the service in question directly.

What are Crit’Air stickers?

Crit’Air certificates, which indicate the level of air pollution for which a vehicle is responsible, are becoming increasingly necessary for drivers in urban areas.

Read more: A guide to Crit’Air stickers in France

Read more: Confusion over low-emission driving zones in France

A growing number of towns and cities have low-emission zones which will eventually allow access only to the least polluting vehicles. The older the car, the less likely it will be allowed into built-up areas.

Crit’Air certificates are round stickers stuck on the lower right-hand side of the windscreen (or on the fork below the handlebars on a motorbike).

There are seven categories, from 0, for 100% electric and hydrogen cars, followed by 1 to 5, with a different colour for each. Vehicles made before December 31, 1996, are deemed to be the worst polluters and are non-classé; not eligible for any sticker.

All types of vehicle are included. However, classic cars, which are by definition at least 30 years old (and with the carte grise ‘véhicule de collection’) are exempt. Eventually, only vehicles classified zero (with a green sticker), 1, 2 and in some cases 3 will be allowed into low emission zones.

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