France Layby Petrol Scam

I just thought it might be useful to share something that happened to us the other day. We were driving in France on the way back from the UK and stopped at a small country layby to stretch our legs.

Scarcely had we got out of the car when a large BMW SUV with Bulgarian plates arrived rather fast and drew into the layby behind us. A large dark-haired man got out, used a pretext to start a conversation in French with us, got very enthusiastic and then said he didn’t have any petrol in his car and could we help him either by accepting some rather dubious cash notes in return for some euros or by following us to a petrol station and allowing him to fill up on our credit card and pay us back later. He said that his credit card was blocked in France and everything was closed as it was Sunday. He was going to start work in Zurich the next week and could phone his future employer to help him the next day.

While Brigitte was prepared to give him the benefit of the doubt, it all seemed pretty fishy to me. I said to the guy that I thought it sounded like a scam (de l’escroquerie) and we got back in the car and drove away.

I take the time to write this because after doing a little research on the internet, it appears that this scam was in operation about ten years ago. Please see the following link:

which also references this article from the UK in 2009:

Perhaps there has been a resurgence of this sort of scam.

Anyway I hope you don’t fall for it wherever you may be.

May your life never become an endurance test.