Two people have been arrested by the local police in Strasbourg, France, in a troubling case that involves them reportedly preying on elderly victims in a phony bedbug treatment operation. The accused preyed on the weak and would pose as genuine pest treatment companies to gain entry into the homes of their victims.
The criminals contacted potential victims and fraudulently informed them about a bedbug problem in their area. The accused would then show up at the victims’ homes dressed as health officials with aerosol sprays to pretend to be conducting a pest control operation. Scammers would sell an ointment that they claimed would repel bedbugs from human skin to deepen their deceit. It was shocking to learn that the so-called therapy was only a basic cream with a eucalyptus aroma.
48 people were successfully targeted by the scams, most of them being elderly women over 90. The victims were tricked into paying outrageous fees for treatments that were neither necessary nor effective against bedbugs, ranging from €300 to €2,100 (£257 to £1,800).
According to Strasbourg law enforcement, nine official complaints about this alleged fraud were received. These allegations prompted the police to start monitoring the suspects, which resulted in their apprehension as they were leaving the supposed victim’s house.
This troubling incident comes against a surge in bedbug infestations throughout France, prompting heightened concerns among citizens and government officials. The infestations have not only led to genuine issues but have also given rise to false sightings and unwarranted public hysteria, according to entomologists and health experts.
Due to the seriousness of the bedbug problem in France, there are even concerns about the problem spreading to adjacent countries. Sadiq Khan, the mayor of London, has expressed alert about the threat posed to the capital of the United Kingdom.
In October, Mayor Khan disclosed that he had been in contact with authorities at Transport for London and equivalents in Paris to ensure precautions were taken against the spread of bedbugs, especially in the public transportation system. This scam’s worldwide consequences highlight the necessity of ongoing alertness and aggressive efforts to counter such deceptive tactics.