Policia Nacional have announced that they have dismantled an organisation that is alleged to have swindled more than €400,000 from foreign tourists in the south of Gran Canaria.
The 12 detainees, who ran establishments dedicated to the sale of electronic products in tourist areas, approached holiday-makers, usually elderly or of advanced years, and offered electronic devices at very low prices. Quoting payment terminal updates as an excuse, they told their victims they would deliver the products on the date they were due to fly back to their home country, in the mean time making several fraudulent charges on their credit card on the basis that they were unlikely to try to claim back from outside Spain.
This investigation began after a complaint from a company that detected anomalies in collections made through the POS’s (retail Point-Of-Sale system). The 12 detainees, all alleged to be members of a criminal organisation, ran electronic stores and chose foreign tourists as victims, by offering devices at prices well below the market value, for example offering tablet computers worth of €300 for as little as €60. When the customers entered these establishments the perpetrators would indicate that they had to make updates or modifications to the payment device and that they would deliver the purchased products to them on the day the target was set to return to their own country. Sometimes they even offered to pick them up at their hotel and transfer them to the store to have the goods delivered to them.
At the time of collecting the product(s) they passed the card through several TPVs alleging that each failed one was suffering a malfunction, however the perpetrators carried out various charges, some much higher than the price agreed with the customers, without them even becoming aware of the fraud, until it was much too late.
Having completed the scam, it is alleged that the detainees took the victims back to their hotels, where some members of the organisation were position to watch and make sure they were actually going to the airport and leaving Spain.
If the client came to detect that they had being charged without their consent, they returned the money and explained that it was an error, in order to avoid being reported to the police and denounced. The group is thought to have successfully swindled €436,781 out of the €893,487 that they had tried to defraud from their targets.
The police surveillance operation culminated in the arrest of 12 people related to this organisation and the registration of various premises where this activity had been carried out along with the address of the principal people involved. Agents intervened, confiscating 8 POS’s, two of them hidden in vehicles, along with diverse jewels, watches and at least €22,000 in cash.