- Author : Marc di Rosa
- Master : 2958
THE SOARING RISE OF SCAMS | TF1 | Reportages
In the world of exploding fraud, the contacts made possible by the Internet have changed the game. For swindlers they have unleashed a torrent of opportunities in real life, to the point where they now target one third of the French population. There are now 15 million French people aged over 14 (that is 30% of the population) who have fallen victim to a swindle or an attempted swindle during their lives. We followed some victims who are struggling to recover their money and the police who are fighting organized gangs. In the Beaujolais, Aimée and Jean, a retired couple are among the many victims of the insulation for €1 scam. In the beginning, companies offer a golden opportunity: insulate your house for just €1, thanks to a special subsidy. “They were so insistent that my husband finally allowed them to come around”, sighs Aimée. Their attic should have been insulated, but, in fact, their upper floor accommodation was rendered uninhabitable. Who are these unscrupulous companies that have insinuated themselves into this niche market? We infiltrated one of the biggest in the sector and discovered some edifying practices. John and Nicolas are two experienced officers in the Mulhouse street crime division. For months, they’ve been working on the activities of an organized gang that swindles owners of top-of-the-range cars. “Most of the time, the victims don’t even know that they’ve been swindled”, says John, “for them their car really has had a breakdown.”The officer duo’s investigations lead them to discover hundreds of victims throughout France. And gradually they manage to discover the gang’s MO and the identities of its members. For the two policemen everything will hang on a major police operation in which they hope to put an end to this organized gang’s swindling. Some frauds can even ruin the people who are the victims. This is the case of Katia and Ludovic, a social worker couple who acquired a contemporary home in sea containers, but who never got it. The same misfortune befell Sonia, who spent all her savings on a wooden home. In fact, it was the same builder in the Manche department who abandoned them both after pocketing the money. “When I met him, I saw somebody who knew his business and who inspired total confidence in me”, relates Sonia. Heavily in debt, this young woman and the couple are fighting with every means available to obtain reparation. And then there are those small, everyday swindles that poison the lives of millions of French people. Emergency repair jobs in the home are regularly pointed out by the anti-fraud authorities. We tested several plumbers with a commonplace fault, a simple washer costing a few pennies to change. Some dishonest tradesmen diagnose imaginary faults and grab the chance to ask for over one thousand Euros! Swindles are a curse, because added to the sometimes-considerable costs is a feeling of shame that deters some victims from speaking out. Against them, the swindlers make up a world in perpetual reinvention to find fresh scams.