Top tips for avoiding online shopping scams in France

If it is too good to be true, it probably is! Read these ten tips to enjoy safe shopping online in France.

Scams come in many forms online including via websites, email and social media. Although online fraud is a sad fact of life today, there are plenty of things you can do to prevent it – and to protect your money. 

These tips below will help you:

  • Research a company website before you buy. Sites with poor grammar or spelling are often a giveaway that the site is ‘dodgy;’ however, others which appear slick and professional look ok – but are not. So check to see if there are full contact details (not just a mobile number) as well as different payment methods. Look on Google maps to see if it is a legitimate business; search also for the company on Infogreffe for their registration details. Final point: Check the website is secure; a secure URL should begin with “https” rather than “http.”
  • Think carefully before validating a payment. Simple tips such as checking if it is the right amount and the correct company will protect your cash. Read any messages carefully before validating. Once you validate a payment your bank will not refund you if you are victim of an online fraud. Note: French banks use ‘two-factor’ authorisation system for most online transactions. 
  • If you are scammed, act quickly. Set payments to zero immediately if there may be an issue and call your bank immediately. You can phone SOS Cartes (for Crédit Agricole customers - or your bank’s equivalent) if it is out of hours.  If you use a banking app, block your card.
  • Beware of ‘pop ups.’ Companies regularly use ‘pop ups’ on their websites to attract our attention. Be careful with any pop ups when buying online to make sure you are not routed to a different website or page.
  • Keep control with your banking app. Using your app allows you to set your card limits to zero if you do not purchase online regularly. Similarly, you can increase the limit – or alternatively call your bank to do this for you.
  • Using PayPal. This is an alternative payment option rather than using your card to pay directly.
  • Don’t click on dubious links or sales offers. We all love a bargain for sure. Nevertheless links offering special offers or discounts after making a purchase can often trick customers into buying or signing up for things they do not need…
  • Read online reviews. These are a useful source of information; however, don’t rely on them 100%! Online scammers sometimes post fake reviews to mislead. 
  • Read the small print. Before completing a purchase companies use tick boxes at the end of a purchase. Read these carefully before you click to accept.
  • Report online fraud. If you see a transaction on your account of more than 500€ inform your bank first then the police. You will also need a police report which you can do online via the Perceval system for fraudulent transactions or visit the local station.

Keeping your money safe with CA Britline

We hope that you have found these tips useful. You can find more advice and information about combating fraud and keeping your money safe online here on the CA Britline website. 

If you wish to open a French bank account with CA Britline, we’d love to hear from you. Our friendly team of bilingual English-speaking advisors can help you with all of your daily banking needs in France. Your advisor will guide you to finding the account that best suits your requirements.

We look forward to banking with you! 


Image used is provided by Getty Images.
First published: 20th December 2023