In this period of coronavirus epidemic, the number of scams increase and the Hauts-de-France region is not spared. The regional press as well as authorities remind the main scam risks and call for increased vigilance.
Lille: "Métropole Européenne de Lille" calls for vigilance regarding the scam risks linked to COVID-19
The “Métropole Européenne de Lille” (MEL) echoes the “Autorité des Marchés Financiers” (AMF) warning note regarding the risks of scams during the coronavirus epidemic. It recalls the main types of scams for individuals: fake investments or banking products, fraudulent calls for donations, phishing. The MEL and AMF also emphasize the good practices against the fraudulent proposals: do not communicate your personal data on Internet, be careful with very attractive offers, and make sure that the intermediary is authorized for offering financial services.
Hauts-de-France: two fake EDF employees sentenced to prison
Two fraudsters acting as fake EDF (French energy provider) employees have been sentenced to prison. They have stolen around fifty people in the Hauts-de-France region, mainly around Lille. They were visiting older people pretending that they had to check the electricity meter, and were asking for the payment of an extra electricity consumption in order to steal the victims credit cards. The two fraudsters have been arrested in February in Arras, and have now been sentenced to three and five years of prison.
Somme: a fraudster had usurped the identity of another company to trick his victims
An IT company from the Somme department has been usurped in a scam affair. The fraudster had created an e-commerce website to sell household appliances (lachatele.fr, now closed). The customers never received their products after paying their orders. The website had a legal notice but it was using the identity of the IT company, which obviously had nothing to do with this fraudulent activity.
The usurpation has been discovered when several victims of the scam have contacted the usurped company to claim their purchase delivery.
The display of a legal notice is an obligation in France for all the websites, being professional or personal. As a customer, it is recommended to read this legal notice and make sure that the enterprise purpose is in line with the products sold. For companies, it is important to conduct a watch on the Internet in order to prevent a fraudulent use of their identity.
Northern France: many scams attempts during the coronavirus crisis
La Voix du Nord presents three types of frequent scams during the coronavirus crisis, especially around Boulogne-sur-Mer and Calais but also anywhere in France.
Fake police officers have fined car drivers on the A16 motorway around Calais. They asked for a direct and cash payment and were obviously fraudsters.
Many scams also occur on the internet, for instance on some websites offering to generate and print the certificates required to go out during the epidemic crisis. These websites are actually collecting personal data or even launching ransomware attacks.
The cyberattacks risks also increase in this period due to the high level of home office working. The use of personal devices to work on the enterprises servers may indeed help the hackers to reach the companies data and files.