Two elderly Monaco residents have been scammed out of a total of 600,000 euros in the latest wave of malicious phone calls, according to the General Prosecutor’s Office.

The victims handed over valuables to a gang member who physically came to their homes to collect the goods on the pretence that this would lead to the release from custody of close relatives of the victim who had been involved in a fatal car crash.

A Polish woman in her fifties was caught in the act of collecting jewellery and arrested in the Condamine district on December 13. She remains in custody and, for the moment at least, this type of scam call has stopped.

“A potential victim contacted Public Security who then put themselves under surveillance. This lady was arrested trying to get a bag of jewellery. She disputes the facts and says she was unaware of its contents,” the Prosecutor’s Office told local French-language daily Monaco Matin.

“They are very well organised crooks, specialised in this type of offence. Their radius of activity is in the Western part of Europe: in Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Italy, France and… in Monaco. They have one or more accomplices near Monaco to come to the meeting place and recover the money and valuables,” said divisional commissioner Jean-François Mirigay, head of Monaco’s Judicial Police Division.