A duo of scammers, who deceived elderly people into believing their homes were infested with bed bugs to extort money, has been apprehended.
According to Cnews.fr, this scam has capitalized on the widespread fear among many French citizens of catching bed bugs from public transport or movie theaters. The fraudsters, operating in Eastern France, exploited this general panic to orchestrate their scheme.
These two men specifically targeted elderly individuals, particularly women over 90 years old, whom they contacted by phone. They convinced their victims that their homes were infested with bed bugs.
Subsequently, they arranged visits to the victims' homes, posing as pest control professionals. During these visits, they applied aerosol products in the residences and offered the elderly skin products purported to be repellents. In reality, these were merely simple eucalyptus-based balms.
At least 48 Potential Victims The con artists charged between 300 ($322) 2,100 ($2.260) euros for this fake service, insisting on payment by credit card.
According to a statement from the Departmental Directorate of Public Security (DDSP), at least 48 potential victims have been identified, and the General Investigations Unit (UEG) of the police has received nine complaints of fraud against vulnerable individuals.
Investigators quickly identified the suspects, and a surveillance operation was set up by the anti-crime brigade police as the scammers were about to target a new victim in Strasbourg. The two individuals were apprehended and taken into custody, as confirmed by the Bas-Rhin police.
Both individuals were already known to the police for other scams and are set to be tried in immediate appearance on Friday, December 8.