TESTIMONY. At 22, I was taken in by the Vitale card scam

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The Vitale card scam is back, and the crooks seem more determined than ever. If the elderly, generally less comfortable with technology, are prime targets for them, young people are not exempt.

More vigilant vis-à-vis this type of scam, however, all they need is a moment of inattention to be fooled. In any case, this is what testifies Jeremy, a 22-year-old student living in Val-de-Marne, who came close to losing 1,000 euros because of a well-crafted scam.

It all happened during the day of Wednesday, September 7, 2022. “My Vitale card recently expired and I have to start the process to redo it. For this reason, I was arrested when I received an SMS from Ameli regarding this procedure.”, explains the young man, adding that the message came from a phone number starting with 06.

Seeing this message, Jeremy says he was immediately suspicious, but clicked on the link anyway. “I arrived on a page that looked exactly like the real health insurance site,” he says. The URL link to the page also seemed to be right and there was even the padlock, claiming the connection was secure.

The Val-de-Marnais then completed the requested information, surname, first name, date of birth, email, telephone number and address. “After completing this first step, I arrived on a second page where I was asked to fill in my bank details. At the time, I did not think about the fact that Ameli does not usually ask for this and I I therefore completed the form with my information”.

Once the coordinates were entered, the authentication page was displayed on the site but, after loading, the site remained blocked. “At that time I thought it was strange so I refreshed the page and went back to the previous one. I then tried to click on the tabs of the site and I realized that none worked. I couldn’t do anything on this site except enter my bank details.”

After that, Jeremy says he was not really worried and quickly thought of something else, his mind occupied with his work.

But about an hour and a half later, he received a call that sealed the scammers’ method.

A little later in the afternoon, Jeremy receives a call on his mobile phone, a number starting with 07. “At the end of the line, a man claiming to be my banker alerts me to an attempted fraud. He ‘called by first and last name and quickly managed to put me at ease.”, reports the young man.

The scammer then explains where the fraud came from, what device it came from, and other similar information. “Then he asked me for my customer number, as well as the secret code of my bank account. Believing to be dealing with my banker, I gave him almost complete access to my account.”

On the other hand, Jeremy could not give him one of his information, not knowing it, the code for the digital key, necessary to validate a transfer. “He started to be more and more insistent to get this information. Unable to get it, he asked me to uninstall my bank’s app on my phone before telling me to go back to it to validate operations. His speech became confused. After a while, he asked me to connect to the bank’s website. I then went there and entered my identifiers. When I validated, my access was blocked and a message is displayed”, recalls the young man of 22 years.

“The message alerts me that many scams are circulating at the moment, they usually start with an email or an SMS and are followed by a call.”, he continues. “At that moment I realized that was exactly what was happening to me,” he recalls.

When I realized that I was the victim of a scam, I immediately hung up with my interlocutor to contact my bank”, he says.

Jeremy then immediately calls his bank to inform them of the situation. He explains the problem to his adviser who notices that a transfer of 1,000 euros is pending but could not be validated. The banker also explains that they tried to recover the digital key because it was deactivated on the student’s application.

“The bank was very efficient. My account and my card were therefore blocked and I am leaving with a new customer number, a new secret code and a new credit card”, he says.

Fortunately, the consequences are minimal and Jeremy was able to narrowly escape the scam. However, he still bitterly regrets having been fooled so easily.

“I feel really stupid. I thought I was relatively well informed about scams and I did not believe that it could happen to me so easily. I lacked vigilance and I blame myself”, he confides .

Scams are getting better and better and it is now easy to be fooled. No one is immune, not even professionals in the field. “When I was on the phone with my banker, she confided to me that she herself had recently almost been taken in by a similar scam. It really can happen to anyone.”

Following this misadventure, Jeremy still considers that he was very lucky and puts it into perspective: “I was fooled once, I regret it. At least it will serve as a lesson to me and I will be much more vigilant in the future.”