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TECHNOLOGY

Warnings issued over Christmas parcel scams in France

Customers in France are being warned about an increasing number of scam emails and text messages claiming to be about parcel delivery.

Warnings issued over Christmas parcel scams in France
Photo: AFP

As Christmas approaches and more people than ever are shopping online, the amount of parcels being delivered in France has rocketed – and with it the scams linked to parcel delivery.

The French postal service La Poste as well as the Customs authority have warned of several types of scam circulating, while readers of The Local have also flagged up fake communications.

Among the most common scams are people receiving SMS text messages or emails claiming to be from la Poste. The message says that you have received a parcel but there is insufficient postage, and invites you to click on a link to pay the postage and receive your parcel.

The other variation on this is a message claiming to be from the French customs service saying that your parcel has been held up at the border because there are customs taxes to pay, and again invites you to follow a link and make a payment.

A spokesman for the French customs service said: “Customs will never contact a person to ask them to pay fees. We only inform customers when a prohibited or dangerous product has been seized by our services.”

Some people have also reported scams around online shopping.

The person receives an email claiming to be from an online retailer saying that their order of an expensive item has been received, and offering a link for people to click to cancel. The link asks for your bank details, which scammers can then use to access your bank account.

“The current context of lockdown and working from home means that many people are buying online,” said Gabriel de Brosses, head of cybersecurity at La Poste.

“People enter their credit card details on the link provided and that's how they get scammed – this is the last thing you should do.”
 

 

 

 

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CRIME

How France plans to prevents youngsters accessing online pornography

France is set to announce new measures this week to prevent youngsters from accessing porn websites, in the latest round of a years-long struggle to protect children from explicit material.

How France plans to prevents youngsters accessing online pornography

“I plan to put an end to this scandal,” Digital Affairs Minister Jean-Noel Barrot told the Parisien newspaper on Monday.

France’s data protection and media regulators Cnil and Arcom are set to announce their latest proposals to rein in porn websites which are in theory subject to a 2020 law requiring age verification.

Previous attempts have been held up by privacy and technical concerns, as well as court action by the websites.

To its frustration last September, a Paris court ordered Arcom to enter into mediation with several porn websites including market leader Pornhub, holding up efforts to block them.

READ MORE: France hits Google and Facebook with huge fines over ‘cookies’

Under the new proposal, people wanting to access explicit material will need to download a phone application that provides them with a digital certificate and code, the Parisien reported.

The code will be needed to access a porn website under a system “which will work a bit like the checks from your bank when you buy something online,” Barrot told the newspaper.

“2023 will mark the end of our children accessing pornographic sites,” he added.

President Emmanuel Macron, who is married to former school teacher Brigitte Macron, promised to make protecting children from porn a priority during his bid for re-election last year.

In November, he launched the Children Online Protection Laboratory, an initiative that aims to bring together industry giants and researchers to look for ways to shield minors online.

In September last year, a report entitled “Hell Behind the Scenes” by French senators concluded that there was “massive, ordinary and toxic” viewing of porn by children.

The report found that two thirds of children aged 15 or less had seen pornographic content.

The French production industry has been roiled by a series of sexual assault cases in recent years in which women have come forward to allege rape, mistreatment and manipulation by directors and fellow actors.

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