Scams

Fight against consumer scam!

Have you ever received a letter or an e-mail telling you that you are the lucky winner of a house or car?

Do not trust them!

The goal of a scammer is to steal your money or even your identity. The simplest and most efficient defence is to refuse any offers which are made to you, even if they seem very attractive (miracle products, an easy way to make money, etc.) and to not provide any personal information.

How do you recognise a scam?

They are often false promises claiming that you can win a large amount of money.

Examples include:

  • You are the big winner in a lottery you never participated in;
  • You have an exclusive opportunity to be part of a system to win a lot of money easily and without any effort;
  • You will receive a large commission by helping safeguard some money (inheritance, assets, etc.);
  • You have been chosen to invest your money at no risk, with high returns guaranteed as well.

How do you recognise a scammer?

They are kind, charming, and make you believe that they want the best for you. Or, on the contrary, they seem aggressive, threatening, and harassing. Their letters and brochures can seem very professional. They can be convincing. They have an answer for everything and don’t give up easily once they have made contact with you. They push you to make an immediate decision by offering you all kinds of additional advantages.

After they win your trust, they ask you to:

  • Advance some money to pay for administrative costs, taxes, etc.;
  • Share your bank data, credit card number or other personal information (identity card number, national number, etc.);
  • Call a premium-rate number starting with a number like 0900 or 0903, where fake services are offered to you;
  • Download software, supposedly free, but which is actually a paid subscription to an online service provider;
  • Buy something to increase your chances of winning a bigger prize;
  • Pay cash and go through a non-banking intermediary in order to transfer them money.

What are good habits to have in order to protect yourself?

  • Above all, ask yourself whether it is logical that a stranger promises you the moon;
  • Next, take the time to verify the person's contact information; scammers often use a post office box as their only contact address, or a pre-paid mobile phone card to avoid being identified;
  • Do not communicate any personal data without verifying the identity of the person who wants to do business with you;
  • Do not give, deposit or transfer money to a stranger or an intermediary without knowing whether they have the required authorisations;
  • If someone asks you not to tell anyone about the deal, it is likely to be a scam. You should instead speak about it with other people (friends, family) and ask for help from a specialist or another person you trust;
  • Only use online auction sites which ensure secure transactions and do not deal with a seller directly.

More about certain scams…

Hacked Facebook account and misleading advertising!

Because of messages supposedly sent by friends, internet users have started using an application enabling them to see who is blocking them on social networks or to find out their friends' password. These messages seem to come from real websites but the truth is they are copies. This practice is called phishing and makes it possible to obtain personal information from internet users and to misuse them. Some Facebook accounts were hacked into and statuses were used for misleading advertising.

Work from home

Many people seek to increase their income by working from home. You should be aware of scams to avoid falling into traps set out by people with malicious intentions. Some of these types of offers use premium-rate numbers or costly text message services, supposedly in order to sign up job seekers. Be careful!

Car advertising scam

The price of fuel is skyrocketing. It makes the idea of making money with your car seem very attractive. Be careful though, certain companies are not always legitimate.

Premium-rate numbers such as 0900 numbers or text message services

Most of the time, you are charged a correct price for using telephone services. According to the law, you must be able to see their prices at any time. However, some service providers take advantage of your inattention via premium-rate numbers.

Professionnel directories 

Have you ever received offers to place your contact information in an electronic or paper-based business directory, or bills which don’t seem legitimate?

Fake lotteries

Have you ever been promised significant winnings (material or financial)? Don’t trust offers that are too good to be true.

Nigerian letters

Have you ever received an attractive offer for a financial transaction or investment? Do not let yourself be duped, don’t believe offers that are too good to be true!

Disputes and complaints

Disputes and complaints

Publications

  • Mon identité m’appartient… ou pas ?
  • Argent facile...ment perdu!
  • Des pratiques pas très nettes sur le net
  • Des numéros de téléphone qui peuvent vous ruiner

Regulation

Useful hyperlinks

Contact Center

FPS Economy, S.M.E.s, Self-employed and Energy
Contact Center

Rue du Progrès, 50
1210 Brussels

Phone (free number): 0800 120 33
From abroad: +32 800 120 33

Fax (free number): 0800 120 57
From abroad: +32 800 120 57

Ask your question by means of the webform

Directorate-General Enforcement and Mediation - Front Office

FPS Economy, S.M.E.s, Self-employed and Energy
Directorate-General Enforcement and Mediation
Central services - Front Office

NG III, 3rd floor
Boulevard Roi Albert II, 16
1000 Brussels

Phone: 02 277 54 85