Be careful of phone scams targeting entrepreneurs in France

By Valérie Aston on 25 June 2019 · Viewed 2115 times · Questions

You have recently registered your business and are looking forward to finalising your health cover, so you are probably keen to answer any incoming call from the French administration. Be careful not to be caught by a new scam charging you 3€ as soon as you call them back, then keeping you navigating through their online directory, charging you another 0.80€ to 2.99€ per minute!

I came across this scam with a customer this week, who received a message relating to démarche administrative and inviting her to call back with a personal 4 digit code. This customer had been waiting for her health cover confirmation and was therefore keen to answer any question and check what was wrong with her business record. Just know that it is very rare for SSI, URSSAF or CPAM to call you! Documents are requested by post.

Which phone numbers are likely to be a scam

Bercy has also warned about this scam this week. Numbers that are likely to overcharge you, start by the following numbers:

  • 10 digit numbers starting by 081 , 082 or 089
  • 4 digit numbers starting by 1 or 3
  • 6 digit numbers starting by 118

You can also check how much you will be charged by entering the phone number on this site for annuaire inversé.

Where did these companies get your phone number

When registering your business, you have to give some personal details (business address, phone number), which unfortunately can be rented by businesses, unless you have specifically requested not to share your information. There is a box to tick stating "Je demande à ce que les informations enregistrées dans le répertoire Sirene ne puissent pas être consultées ou utilisées par des tiers".

Unfortunately, if you tick this box, you cannot see your business details in online records such as or Insee, which comes handy to check that you are properly recorded. An alternative is to not share your phone number, which will save you from the car rental, electricity, liability insurance cold calls...

Valerie Lemiere: Start Business in France

About the author: Valérie Aston

I've been helping people who want to start or already have a small business set up in France since 2009. After graduating from a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree, I worked as a senior marketing consultant in the UK and France for various International companies. I worked as a conseillère en création d'entreprises (senior business advisor) for BGE here in France and run this independent business on a daily basis.