Is Athens Infested With Bedbugs? Fake Posters Aim To Deter Tourists From Short-term Holiday Lets

Fed up with holiday apartments driving up rent, locals in Athens have put up fraudulent bedbug evacuation notices.

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Fake signs warnings of bedbug infestations are being used to deter tourists in Athens, Greece.

They have been put up outside apartment buildings in the city centre, falsely describing a bedbug problem.

Athens and other parts of Greece are facing a housing crisis. With many apartments being used as holiday lets for tourists, rents are increasing and locals are being pushed out.

In a statement on Tuesday, Greece's health ministry said the signs were completely untrue. 

It is teaming up with the police to stop the hoax signs, which include logos from the authorities. 

Hoax bedbug signs threaten €500 fine

Poorly translated into English, the signs falsely claim health officials have ordered guests to leave to protect Greek residents.

They say there is a bedbug issue and threaten visitors with a €500 fine if they don't leave. They also wish the tourists a good stay in Greece.

The hoax follows hysteria in September and October over a bedbug outbreak in France. Various photos and videos were shared on social media of the pests on trains and in cinemas in Paris, with some experts claiming they could travel on the Eurostar to other countries like the UK.

The headline-grabbing story prompted a response from France's Transport Minister, who said the issue had been overblown and there was "no need for psychosis".

What's behind Athens' bedbug hoax?

A boom in short-term holiday lets has helped increase rental costs for Greek people, pushing many out of central Athens.

The value of housing is also surging partially because of government policies that offer foreign investors residence in exchange for property investments.

Tourism is crucial for Greece's economy, making up a big part of the yearly output. The health ministry said on Tuesday that they've told the police to deal with the fake warnings.

They emphasised that no one should be scaring visitors or giving false information about public health.

Greece hasn't had any big problems with bedbugs, unlike what happened in France this summer.

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