“They choose the most vulnerable victims they can find,” police inspector Lars-Owe Burlin told the Expressen newspaper.
So far this year, ten cases have been reported involving a female visitor who came to the door claiming to be from the municipality, hospital, or home assistance services.
In some cases, the woman then said she wanted to come by to perform tests, while in other cases she said the victims here on a special list to of people to be vaccinated.
While the woman distracted the victims with discussions about swine flu, her accomplices would sneak in to their homes to steal jewelry and cash.
Police tell the newspaper that the crimes are difficult to solve because many of the victims are very old and can only provide vague descriptions of the assailants.
“These are elderly people, many over 90-years-old. Some don’t see very well, other have trouble remembering things,” said Burlin.
While the elderly have long been target for enterprising criminals, incorporating swine flu into the ruse is a new tactic.
The best protection, say police, is for potential victims to not open their doors to anyone they don’t know.