Periodically we have to repeat warnings about scams, and then they go quiet for a while, only to return once the scammers think we´ve forgotten about them, this time it´s the return of the “50 euro scam”.
One thing, before we explain the details of this scam, remember, above all, if something seems too good to be true, it usually is.
It certainly is in the case of this scam. Let us paint a picture. Innocent victims board the vehicle, perhaps in a supermarket car park, or after a pleasant day at the beach, the occupants might be distracted, talking about the joys of the day they´ve just had. As the driver sits in the vehicle, starts the engine, secures the seat belt and carries out full observations before moving off… What´s that? A 50 euro note secured under the windscreen wiper? Can it be? Could this day get any better?
Now, as we pause our idyllic scene, of course the day can get a lot better, but not at this moment, because this is where the scammers take advantage. The 50 euro note is fake, a poorly printed copy that´s not easy to determine from a distance. But the idea is that the driver is so pleased with the potential find, they leave the vehicle, engine running, to collect their booty, at which point the scammers jump into the car and drive off, yes, often with other occupants on board initially, with even children having been taken in this way in previous robberies.
We first became aware of this scam in 2014, but it´s not the only one of this type. Prior to this, a handwritten note on the back window was a favourite, or sometimes just an innocent flyer.
The advice, as always, is to take a brief walk around your vehicle every time you return to it. Check basics such as wheels, tyres, lights, and windows, removing anything like flyers (placing them in a dustbin of course), the fuel filling cap is in place (more about that another time), and looking for any obvious signs of damage to the vehicle. This is a good habit to get into every time, no matter how briefly you may have left your vehicle.