Warning over bank card scam in French supermarket car parks

Fraudsters pretending to be shop workers are targeting elderly people

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People in France are being warned about a scam which is affecting shoppers in supermarket car parks in different areas of France.

One victim, Fernande, 83, told TF1 that she had just finished her shopping in a Pyrénées-Orientales supermarket and was loading the bags into her car.

At that moment, a woman approached her, claiming to be a supermarket worker and saying that she had overpaid for one of her items and that she was owed money.

The woman then asked Fernande to hand over her bank card and tell her her pin so that she could carry out the refund.

In reality, once in possession of the card, the scammer went straight to the supermarket ATM and withdrew €400.

“Now, I am often afraid,” Fernande said. “I have to make my son come with me because I am always anxious.

“I was shocked because I am aware that in a supermarket, there are security guards, cameras, and normally that should not happen,” her son said.

A similar situation unfolded in a Lot supermarket car park, where the would-be victims Lucile, 88, and Antoine, 89, were suspicious of the ‘supermarket worker’ and refused to hand over the card. The scammer then tried to snatch it.

As suggested by the ages of the victims who gave testimony, this scam is targeted at the elderly.

The scheme may seem like an obvious scam, but “the scammers know what they’re doing,” said Céline Thomas of the Pyrénées-Orientales gendarmerie. “They are often women and they speak very nicely; they know how to manipulate things, they are very kind and succeed in distracting their victim’s attention through fraudulent verbal manoeuvres.”

Local gendarmeries are stepping up officer presence around supermarkets in response.

It should be noted that real supermarket workers should be wearing a badge and will never ask for your pin number.

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