“I lost 7,000 euros”: Lisa, scammed by fake couriers on her doorstep in Bordeaux

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On January 7, 2024, Lisa* “lost 7,000 euros” without even leaving her apartment. The 25-year-old young woman, who lives in the center of Bordeaux, was the victim of a new type of bank fraud: the fake courier scam. These scams, now widespread in Paris, have recently become rampant in Bordeaux.

As organized as they are meticulous, the perpetrators display an astonishing force of conviction to manipulate the victims, who are almost systematically deemed responsible by their banks and insurance companies.

How the scam unfolded

Back to January 7. Lisa is at home alone. Around 2 p.m., she received a first call “from a number in 09”, then a second which she decided to answer. On the phone, a man explains to him that he works for the fraud department of Société Générale and that he observed suspicious transactions on his account, “in particular a transfer of 4,000 euros abroad”. It's actually spoofinga type of common banking scam where the scammer poses as an advisor.

Lisa is wary, but “he has a very good vocabulary and he is very convincing”. When the young woman asks her interlocutor to prove to her that he works for her bank, he replies that his worry is normal“since there is a lot of fraud at the moment”.

“He guides me through my banking app to find the fraud emergency number: that’s the one he calls me with,” remembers the victim. He actually stole your bank's telephone identity. The man also knows her name, her address, the name of her advisor and her former employer. Convinced, Lisa takes the bait.

The fake courier

The scammer presses Lisa, asking her to confirm her identity on her app because “the scammers could be carrying out other transactions”. He then assures that her card is now blocked and for her to quickly get another one, she must give the old one to a courier who will come and collect it ten minutes later, at her house.

The scammer goes so far as to ask Lisa to write a letter explaining that she has read the procedure and to attach her file number, which she inserts in the envelope.

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While she is still on the phone, the courier arrives. It's around 3:30 p.m. The young woman gets out and meets the driver: “He’s an average man, around fifty, glasses, salt and pepper hair. I give him the envelope, he leaves. »

Everything is falling apart

Still on the phone, pretending to order a new credit card, the scammer asks Lisa to enter your secret code if she wishes to keep the same. She is suspicious, he reassures her by telling her that she “does not have to tell him orally, just type it on the keyboard”. She does so.

It is now time to “re-encode the banking application”, the scammer says: Lisa must reinstall it and test how it works by making a transfer and by increasing your ceiling. Shortly after, the caller hangs up and doesn't call her back until late in the evening.

The line cuts out, Lisa calls back to the same number… and comes across the real fraud department of Société Générale, who simply explains to her “that they never call their customers” and that she was dealing with a scammer. There, everything collapses.

7,000 euros are gone, between transactions on the application and those carried out with the card directly collected by the courier. The (real) advisor instructs the young woman to block her card, notify her bank and file a complaint.

Fake couriers, real scammers

Fake courier scams, like the one Lisa fell victim to, are a recent variation of telephone banking scams which have been rampant for several years. Amaury Ayoun, lawyer at the Marseille bar who regularly defends victims, specifies that “cases of this type began to flood in from the summer of 2023”.

After being defrauded, many victims turn to their banks in the hope of receiving a refund. In vain. “The doctrine of all banks in this case is that you are at faultsighs Me Ayoun. They receive so many requests of this type that they consider it more economical to refuse systematically, and they will see who insists. »

Lisa confirms that after trying to dispute the banking transactions made, Société Générale did indeed explain to her “that there was nothing they could do”, given that her card was the source of the payments.

Legally, banks are not responsible or required to reimburse their customers if they have committed “gross negligence” – that is, if they have failed to take reasonable steps to keep their data secure personal. THE insuranceanother avenue of appeal, unfortunately operate on the same bases: they do not cover fraud in the event of “gross negligence”.

How to get a refund?

Some possibilities for obtaining a refund remain. Like that of contacting a lawyer to sue the banks (or insurance companies).

In these cases, it is a question of prove that the customers were not negligent because very often, “the frauds are so well carried out that they have no reason to believe that they are not dealing with a bank employee,” explains M.e Ayoun. It is also possible to emphasize the duty of care banks, which are supposed to alert their customers of suspicious movements on their account.

A third argument is increasingly used by lawyers and banks, specific to fake courier fraud: that of the responsibility of traders where the crooks come to make local purchases with the victims' cards.

Legally, for purchases over 1,500 euros, merchants are in fact required to verify the identity of the owner of the credit card, keep the receipts and sign them. If they do not do so, “the banks have the right to collect the money from them to reimburse their clients” and the lawyers can also demand reimbursement for the transaction carried out by the fraudsters.

As for the scammers, for the moment, “few perpetrators of fake courier scams have faced justice, simply because the cases are recent and because that we cannot find the culprits,” regrets Amaury Ayoun.

Mistakes not to make

For to protect yourself fraudulent calls, several tips to remember:

  • Bank advisors never ask to carry out remote operations, even less urgently.
  • If a call from your bank seems suspicious, hang up and contact your bank's usual number or that of your advisor
  • If in doubt, do not disclose any confidential information, including through your phone keypad

Maître Ayoun also specifies that if you are ever the victim of a scam by a fake courier, it is necessary to report it to your bank and file a complaint within the prescribed time limits. But he advises “think carefully about your speech” before going to the police station.

“Often to exonerate themselves, victims tend to say that they suspected something, that it seemed suspicious to them, but this can turn against them in court against the banks,” explains Amaury Ayoun. If in doubt, you can consult a lawyer before filing a complaint.

*First name has been changed to maintain anonymity

Victim of bank scam? You can contact info Escroqueries on 0 805 805 817, a free telephone platform managed by police officers and gendarmes, to inform you and advise you.

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