The Guardia Civil arrested three people in Puerto Rico de Mogán (Gran Canaria) for cheating a tourist using what has affectionately become known as the “Tablet Scam” offering a touch screen device for a bargain price, but then allegedly charging the victim’s credit card with €3,090 on the day he returned to his country, despite being told the device had only cost him €15.

Several rogue shop workers in recent months have been arrested in various tourist resort towns of the Canary Islands and some have even starred in special investigative programs on television in northern Europe, so the importance of curbing further such crimes has become ever greater for the authorities.

Already for several years reports have been appearing in national newspapers in Norway, in Ireland and the UK among others, and so despite growing awareness of the problem, it seems only recently to have started to enter the local consciousness.  Tourism workers and shop owners alike have a distinct responsibility to stamp out any such activity or risk harming their own livelihoods.

Normally the scam is carried out in the following manner: the fraudster entices a foreign tourist into an electronics store often with unusually low prices for electronic devices, almost always tablets, but then does not allow him to pay the price agreed that day.

The scammer tells the customer that the device needs to be updated or upgraded and that he will need a day or two to take care of it, an excuse giving the scammer a reason to asks the tourist what day they will be flying back to their country.

The tourist is told they can come back to the store to pick up the tablet on the day they are leaving, which will by that time have been “updated” and that they can pay then, but as part of the deception the payment system does not work well on the day, and the scammer repeatedly passes the victim’s card through the machine to charge as much as they can, taking advantage of the tourist who will not find out until they get off the plane in their own country.

The Civil Guard has said in a statement that this same sequence of events were perpetrated by the suspects now arrested, identified as KRJ, 32; GS, of 37; and AKS, 43, all foreigners living on the island, who are alleged to have scammed an 85-year-old tourist, also a foreigner, who they cheated at an electronics store in the popular tourist town of Puerto Rico, in the municipality of Mogán on the south of Gran Canaria.

However, the man returned to Gran Canaria as soon as he discovered that he had been charged €3,090 for the electronic tablet that they had supposedly sold him for just €15 and, determined not to be taken advantage of in this manner, he went straight to the main barracks of the Civil Guard in Mogán to report the facts.

Those detained include the owner of the shop where the scam was allegedly perpetrated, AKS, and two alleged material accomplices in the scam, GS and KRJ, which have been made available to the Courts of San Bartolomé de Tirajana.

Question everything

When travelling and shopping people are told to:

  • Always take your time and question everything.
  • Avoid handing over their credit card.
  • Always look at the card reader screen to ensure the price is right.

Anyone who feels they have been caught out by a scam should contact the primary emergency control centre in the canary islands by dialing 112.

English Speaking National Police Telephone Number For Making A Crime Report (Denuncia) Whilst in Spain.

Outside Spain Dial
 +34 90 210 2112

Inside Spain Dial: 092