People are being warned to be wary of scam emails purporting to be from energy company EDF. This follows the loss of thousands of pounds by a British couple who were taken in by the fraud.
The couple, who do not wish to be named, have a holiday home in the Languedoc, in France. They were set to leave after a visit when they received an email from EDF saying that their bill had not been paid and pointing them to a payment site. "It was only €19 so we just clicked the link to the EDF site and paid it," the couple said. Their bank account with La Poste (the French equivalent of the Post Office) was subseqently emptied out.
“We had had problems before, when Orange cut us off because we didn't receive their bill and it went unpaid. So we just thought we ought to pay it at once."
The 'EDF' email and website looked genuine, but the email was a hoax and the 'EDF' link took them to a fake site. Entering their bank account details easily enabled the scammers to empty their French bank account. "We didn't even notice until we got home to the UK and there was the real bill from the EDF. We rang up and discovered what had happened but by that time it was too late."
The couple rang La Banque Postale but said: “They weren't very sympathetic. They said there was nothing they could do about it since we had effectively given the money away. They didn't accept that we had been defrauded. They have now blocked the account but the money has gone. We were planning to have some work done on the house, so we lost around £3,000."
In common with other banks, La Banque Postale warns people never to click on links in emails but to type in the bank website details separately. If in doubt, say the bank, contact them on 3639 option 5, forward the suspect email to [email protected] and delete it from your mailbox.