Think I signed a scam contract via phone (in France), need advice

Hi all,

I’ve just fallen for a scam and I need some advice on the next steps. This is in France, so if anyone has region-specific advice it would be greatly appreciated. I feel very, very stupid right now, and am panicking over what happens next. Apologies for the long post – I’m in a panic and just trying to get all the relevant details in. Thanks so much for your help.

So after a long, stressful day at work, I was caught out by a call which I thought was from my Mutuelle (additional health insurance). I am a foreigner living in France, my French is ok but not perfect especially on the phone. Usually I totally ignore unknown numbers but I’d been trying to get hold of someone to view an apartment and for some reason stayed on the line. The guy new all of my details, talked about receiving a new offer on my insurance and long story short got my IBAN from me. He went through a ‘security procedure’ of me receiving a text with a code which I repeated back to him. I have no idea why alarm bells weren’t ringing.

The idea was that they send an offer, and if I don’t like it I can inform them and refuse it.

So, naturally as soon as this ended, it clicked that I had been scammed and panic set in. A bit of googling found the method: I’ve essentially agreed to a contract (although on the phone he said it was an offer for a subscription not the subscription itself). They will set up a direct debit. If you cancel the direct debit with your bank, they harass you and hand over your details to a credit agency and bailiffs threaten to take it to court if you don’t pay within some days.

So, obviously I will be at my bank first thing in the morning to get their advice on stopping any direct debits or other new payments. My question then is how to deal with the follow up.

I have found on a French forum ([https://forum.aide-sociale.fr/arnaque-telephonique-assurance-t4825-10.html](https://forum.aide-sociale.fr/arnaque-telephonique-assurance-t4825-10.html)) some who have found the address to send cancellation notice to, but obviously the company are slippery about it. No one has given updates on the forum beyond the stage of being harassed by the collectors. But of course I will send by registered post something straight away to them.

First question: of course I have no specific details of the ‘contract’ I have agreed to (they said they will send me details but of course they won’t). Can I send a generic withdrawal notice, giving my details and perhaps the date of the phone call? Or do I need to wait to play their game and get some details from them first, increasing my risk of falling foul of collections/bailiffs?

Second question: My biggest concern is with the bailiffs – presumably the collectors hired even by scammers are real, as are the threats to go to court? If it does come to their threats, how best can I deal with this while I try to cancel this fraudulent contract? If I have sent the cancellation, am I in some way protected?

Thanks to anyone who reads and can give me some advice. It’s massively appreciated.

TL;DR: was tricked into agreeing a contract by phone; can I send a generic cancellation (I believe I have an address for the ‘company’ but no other details? And am I at legal risk from bailiffs hired by this gang even though the thing is clearly a scam?


The content was posted by feelingdumb1 on 2021-11-11 18:28:36 via reddit

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2 Comments

  1. Simson_ART says:

    I don’t have much experience with such scam but I’d like to share some thoughts regarding this:

    * I’d probably not wait to freeze your bank account. If possible, freeze your bank account via the online application and/or a “bank emergency freeze”-number. We have one in Germany you can call anytime to freeze your bank account. Better safe than sorry. Sadly I couldn’t find one for France but there might be one if you google in French.
    * You read them a number. Never read or sent anyone a (security) number especially if you don’t know this person. What if this number wasn’t for security but from a two factor authentication you have set up in one of your accounts? Or some SMS-TAN? If you don’t know where this number comes from or what it really does change your passwords of anything with a two factor authentication. Check online if your bank account shows anything suspicious.
    * I was once victim of a telephone scam where they claimed I signed a contract which I didn’t. Never send them money no matter what they say. They get louder because they know this is their only way to get your money. By you giving it to them because of fear or your gentlemen-honesty. Stuff like this rarely comes to court because it would unveil their scam tactics.
    * Write down everything you remember from the call and what you did afterwards. It is easy to loose track and forget about stuff. It might also be important later.
    * If possible, sent a cancelation notice immediately. Decline that you have ever signed a contract with them and ask for proof if you did so, say that you cancel a contract if there would be one, cancel the contract from now and if not possible the next possible point in time. There are also pre-written cancelation letters against scam companies online you can copy. Make sure it is delivered by the postman with a notice back so you have proof.
    * Make sure you also disagree that they can continue using your data for whatever purpose. Say that they need to delete your personal information and data related to you.
    * In Germany, you have 14 days to cancel a contract you agreed on over the phone starting the day you receive the written information on how the cancel the contract (They have to sent them). so act immediately. There might be something similar in France or maybe by EU law even.

    I am sorry I can’t help you with France-specific stuff. Nevertheless, I hope it gives you some info on how it would be handled here in Germany. I hope there are similar systems in France so you might be able to find them online.

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