The woman, in her eighties, succombed to the scam after two young women, claiming to be inspectors from the Ministry of Health and described as being “smartly-dressed, smiling and courteous”, called at her home, Il Mattino reported.
The women asked if she had withdrawn her pension, as the banknotes contained a “highly dangerous virus” which “could trigger a fatal reaction” in humans.
Though the pensioner found the question odd, the women insisted they could decontaminate the notes, Il Mattino said.
Confused and disturbed by what she had just heard, the woman handed over €1,500 and they fled.
She reported the incident to the police, who are now on the hunt for the two scamsters.