€50 note on your windscreen? Watch out for this scam in France

Police highlighted other tricks including ‘flat tyre’ fraud which are also on the rise

Police are warning drivers not to get out of their cars to check euro notes – or other notes – left under their windscreen wipers
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Drivers in France are being warned over a scam which is again doing the rounds, which sees thieves try to steal a victim’s car by luring them out of their vehicle with a €50 note.

Scammers place the note under a car’s windscreen wipers, and then hide nearby.

The money cannot be seen well from the outside, so the driver usually only spots the note once inside the car, often after having turned the ignition on.

Most drivers then get out to take a closer look at the note or retrieve it, intrigued by what has happened.

Once they have opened the vehicle’s door however, the thief suddenly appear and jump in and drive off, leaving the victim stranded and stunned.

Thieves often target small enclosed areas such as car parks, where it is easy to hide and they can drive off quickly with the stolen car without being tracked.

Read more: Watch out for 2024 Crit’Air car sticker scam in France

Police highlight other scams

Police from the Haute-Garonne department have shared an infographic warning about this and other similar scams.

These include a ‘flat tyre’ scam, where a driver comes back to see their tyre has been punctured and must be replaced.

A seemingly friendly passerby will offer to help, providing the tools to replace the tyre.

However, at the same time, an accomplice will steal from the distressed and distracted driver, either directly from them or from their glove compartment.

The fraudsters often target elderly or very young drivers – particularly women – who are more likely to be stressed by the situation. Sometimes they even hassle and threaten the person into paying them for helping – a double blow.

Another ‘map’ scam sees a fraudster take careful note of a person’s secret PIN number at an ATM.

A little further down the street, someone will ask the victim for help as they are lost, usually opening a large road map and using it to keep the person occupied.

Whilst the person is distracted, the original thief who was standing behind the victim at the AM steals their credit card, immediately going back to withdraw as much money as possible.

Read more: Bank call scams: why more people are being caught out in France

What you should do if targeted?

If you see a €50 note under your windscreen wipers when entering your car – or anything else out of the ordinary – you should not get out of your vehicle.

Instead, drive for a few minutes until you are far enough away from your original spot, and make sure no other vehicle has been following you.

Do not leave your keys in the car when you get out of the vehicle, and close the door behind you immediately.

If you do fall victim, immediately call the police to tell them what has happened. The thieves will likely try to sell the vehicle quickly, to pass it out of their hands, or at least take it off of the roads.

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