The fake Ofii Facebook page looks like this | Source: Facebook Screenshot
The fake Ofii Facebook page looks like this | Source: Facebook Screenshot

A fake Facebook page claiming to be from the French Office of Immigration and Integration is asking people for money in exchange for advice. According to the director of the Ofii, this kind of scam is commonplace.

It has the makings of a genuine page: the logo of the French Office for Immigration and Integration (Ofii), the words "public service and administration," links to media, publications on the agency's services... But the "OFII - Office français de l'immigration et de l'intégration" page is not administered by the French agency.

"This account does not belong to us," Didier Leschi, general manager at Ofii, told InfoMigrants. "We are going to ask Facebook to delete it." The page includes articles from InfoMigrants and suspicious contact information.

This fake account exploits people's distress to swindle them. Nadia* paid the price. In early November, this Frenchwoman from the Maghreb was looking for information on migration and residence permits for one of her relatives. She searched on Facebook and came across the page.

Several complaints from Ofii

"I sent a message via Messenger. The man behind the account responded quickly and gave me his Whatsapp number," she said. Nadia and the scammer began chatting on WhatsApp. "I asked him a lot of questions and he answered them accurately," she said. The man put her at ease and asked her for €300 in exchange for more advice. The money, which he said would be refunded to her later, was needed to pay for filing and lawyers’ fees, the man told her.

InfoMigrants gained access to the exchanges between Nadia and the scammer.

Nadia was not suspicious and sent him the requested amount via a Transcash prepaid credit card. "I went to the tobacco shop, I sent the money," she admitted. The fraudster went even further and asked for her bank details. That's when Nadia realized she was dealing with a scammer.

But it was too late; the man had already collected the 300 euros. Nadia filed a complaint. Ofii has done the same.

According to Leschi, this kind of thing is commonplace. "It's not the first time this has happened; we regularly complain. The last time, regarding a similar story, was in October," Leschi said. Sometimes fraudsters issue false documents such as visas in exchange for large sums of money.

So it is important to be on the lookout for fake pages on Facebook; the official Ofii page doesn’t change, Leschi cautioned. You can find it by following this link: https://www.facebook.com/OfiiFr/

Also, never send money without knowing who the recipient is.

*The first name has been changed.

 

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