NewsElderly individuals scammed out of thousands due to bedbug fears

Elderly individuals scammed out of thousands due to bedbug fears

The French police caught two fraudsters who pretended to be a pest control team.
The French police caught two fraudsters who pretended to be a pest control team.
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9:23 PM EST, December 8, 2023

Two men in France have been apprehended for conning elderly individuals using a "bedbug" scheme. The fraudsters manipulated their victims into believing that pest elimination within their houses was a necessity. From this scam, they amassed thousands of euros. Authorities in Strasbourg have reported that they tricked 48 individuals, the majority of whom were over 90 years old.

In Europe, people are already familiar with scams such as "the grandchild scam," "the police scam," and "the official scam", but this bedbug scam targeting the elderly is a new trend. Police in Strasbourg have detained two men implicated in stealing thousands of euros from elderly individuals by convincing them of an urgent need to rid their houses of hazardous pests.

The majority of victims, currently totaling 48, are elderly and lack independence, several of them are already past the age of 90. These con artists carried out phony inspections in their homes, falsely claiming the necessity of pest control. They then proceeded to charge an exorbitant fee for these supposed services, in turn amassing a significant amount of wealth.

Both men exhibited a high level of preparation, posing as a professional team, and meticulously orchestrating a pest control operation.

The Strasbourg police have reported that the apprehended men initially contacted their victims, warning them of a rapid spread of bed bugs in their area. They specifically targeted elderly, affluent individuals to extract money for their alleged services. Subsequently, they would carry out the sham pest extermination.

Following false inspections at the victims' residences, they would start their work, promptly collecting exorbitant fees for their services and the so-called "medicinal products" supplied to the elderly. Both men presented themselves as public health workers and used unspecified aerosols while pretending to disinfect rooms.

A total of 48 individuals were duped, according to police reports. Most of the victims were women who were over 90 years old.

Their alleged "services" didn't end there. Before departing, they offered an ointment purportedly able to deter bed bugs from human skin. However, the ointment turned out to be nothing more than a typical cream with a eucalyptus scent - and it was anything but cheap. Victims were reportedly paying astronomical fees for these interventions, ranging between 300 and 2100 euros.

The suspects, who were under extended surveillance, were arrested while leaving their latest victim's home in Strasbourg. They now face the reality of their "services" from behind bars.

Faced with a significant bedbug problem in recent months, France is battling an increasing invasion of neighborhoods and households by these pests. The growing concern of local officials has been duly noted by authorities in Paris.

French residents continue to grapple with bedbugs while officials seek effective solutions. The authorities are urging people not to attempt pest control themselves, but to employ professional help. However, it is advised to independently verify their legitimacy and online reviews before engaging a team.

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