Fake business start-up training: Caisse des Dépôts tackles CPF fraud

Fraud involving the Personal Training Account (CPF) is estimated at 43 million euros by Tracfin, the Ministry of the Economy's intelligence service. Caisse des Dépôts (CDC), which is in charge of this scheme, has decided to track down the scams, in particular by targeting fake training courses for setting up or taking over a business.

Questionable or non-existent training funded by the CPF

Fraudulent canvassing has been going on for over 2 years: SMS messages and phone calls urging people to invest the money available on their CPF in dubious or non-existent training courses are multiplying, and earning the swindlers millions of euros.

In September, a company was convicted for the first time of CPF fraud by a court in Pas-de-Calais. Happy Form, which embezzled 3 million euros in sales and 330,000 euros in dividends, as well as a luxury car and property purchases, was selling fake office training courses to CPF holders.

Victims were lured with vouchers, computers or smartphones in exchange for using their CPF, and in return received a simple USB key invoiced at between 900 and 1800 euros by Caisse des Dépôts. A total of 1,600 people signed up for this fraudulent training scheme.


Caisse des Dépôts has identified and filed a complaint against some forty suspect companies, and is particularly interested in training offers for business start-ups or takeovers, for which there is strong demand. Between January 1 and October 2, 2022, 267,000 training sessions in this field were financed within the framework of the CPF, for a total amount of 429 million euros.

A vast dereferencing operation

Many of these training courses turned out to be either fraudulent or non-compliant. According to Michel Yahiel, Director of Social Policies at Caisse des Dépôts, the damage is already estimated at several tens of millions of euros.

The institution therefore launched a vast dereferencing campaign to sort out these training courses. Half of the 3828 organizations offering business start-up or takeover training have been banned for 9 months, and just under a third for 3 months. In addition, only cross-disciplinary training courses in business management, accounting or human resources are now eligible for certification.

For the Cap'Créa collective, which brings together various business start-up organizations such as Adie, Initiative France and BGE, the solution is not to cut off funding, but to better control the content of training courses.

While fraud in business start-up or takeover training represents the highest loss, other areas are targeted by crooks and monitored by Caisse des Dépôts, such as Voltaire certificate preparation for spelling, or foreign language training.

More generally, the tougher conditions for obtaining accreditation seem to be working, as there are now almost half as many CPF-eligible certifications as there were a year ago. There are now just 3427, compared with 6050 by the end of 2021.