Guardia Civil shut down a Canary Islands network that scammed at least 60 people with false vacation rentals
Guardia Civil report having dismantled a Canary Islands network of scammers who dedicated themselves this summer to offering fake holiday villas in Fuerteventura. At least 60 people claiming to be victims of the scam have reported losing money although there could be many others. A total of eight suspects have already been identified – two of them arrested – under investigation by the Guardia Civil.
The investigation began at the end of July, when the Guardia Civil began to receive complaints from people who said they had reserved vacation rental villas, through an agency dedicated to the sale of vacation packages, using a website and other profiles on social networks. The alleged agency, which in several cases did not have the legal concession to property exploitation rights, copied photographs of villas from the main internet tour operators, and offered them as its own.
Once those affected made the reservations and arrived at the property, they found the villas already occupied by guests who had rented them from the tour operators who had been granted the lawful management of the accommodations. In other cases, the reservation conditions had been modified just hours before entering the villas, and the scammers offered alternatives that ranged from relocating to smaller complexes that did not conform to what was advertised, and to simply leaving those affected without accommodation.
The proceedings have been made available to the Puerto del Rosario Investigating Court, which is hearing the case.
Recommendations for vacation rentals: -Be wary of advertisements in which the rental price is disproportionately low. -Check the number of people who have previously rented the property, as well as their comments and opinions. -Avoid making payments through bank transfers or payments by BIZUM, especially if the payment is made in advance. It will also be a guarantee that the owner accepts bank credit cards -If the mode of contact with the contracting party is by mobile phone, save all the messages received and sent, as well as the phone number. -Save all kinds of invoices, advertising brochures, contracts and other documentation, in case your contribution is required in a hypothetical claim or complaint. -Make reservations on platforms of known legitimacy to consult their evaluations -Ask the person making the apartment offer to send you a contract commitment or any document that proves that rental commitment.