It seems that each country has a phone scam that is unique to it. For France, it’s the CPF scam.
Compte Personnel de Formation (CPF) is a program set up by the government that allows French citizens to take professional training courses during their working years. These “training rights” are automatically credited each year to the individual’s CPF account by employers.
The program was created in 2015, but in 2019 it switched from crediting citizens in training hours to crediting them in euros, up to a cap of €5,000.
An article from News in France calls CPF “a goldmine for scammers.” It reports that fake companies have flourished, offering training programs to scam people out of their CPF funds. It also notes that the amount of money lost to CPF fraud was 43 million euros in 2021, according to an annual report from France’s Ministry of the Economy.
Variations of the CPF scam
The French government is well aware of CPF fraud and even cautions citizens to beware. According to the French government’s Cyber Malveillance agency, there are several variations of the CPF scam, including:
- The scammer may call claiming to be from a training organization to inform the victim that they have CPF credits available, and sign them up for a fake training course — or a real course that has dubious value.
- The scammer may claim to be from the CPF platform, or even a governmental agency such as the Ministry of Labor, Employment and Integration. The goal here is to get victims to reveal their social security number or password to the CPF account so the scammer can take money from the account.
- If the call recipient has not set up a CPF account on the governmental portal, the scammer may help the victim set up an account, and will then know the name and password to access the account.
Reports from Hiya users
According to Hiya’s data, the CPF scam has been the #1 scam in France during the second half of 2022 — although it did trail off near the end of the year.
The CPF scam was the #1 phone scam in France during the second half of 2022.
Hiya also monitors reports from people in France who use Hiya Protect via their Samsung Smart Call enabled device and the Hiya mobile app. Here are some samples of what users are reporting:
“CPF scam calls several times a day, weekends and public holidays included.”
“They seek confidential information, social security number, and access code to my personal space from the CPF site.”
“Another call for CPF training accounts, trying to push me to connect via France Connect and obtain my identifiers!”
“CPF call. It does not stop. It is exhausting.”
How to fight back against CPF scam calls
The best way to fight back against CPF scam calls is to stop them with network-level protection from your phone carrier, which can either block the calls or label them as fraud.
Carriers can add Hiya Protect, a complete call protection solution that enables carriers to protect their subscribers by blocking fraud calls and labeling nuisance calls. Hiya Protect recently added a new layer of protection, Personal Call Filtering, which personalizes call protection to individual subscribers so they receive the calls that are important to them and are protected from targeted attacks.
With Hiya Connect, enterprises can improve customer engagement and loyalty while protecting their customers from deceitful interactions and their brand reputation from inaccurate spam labeling. Get a free Reputation Analysis report to see if your customers are at risk.
Individuals can check with their phone carrier to see if it offers any spam/scam-blocking capabilities. If not, ask your carrier to consider adding Hiya Protect.