Internet apartment rental scams skyrocket in the summer months in Spain
Rosa knows all too well the damage these fraudsters can cause after paying a deposit of 800 euros to reserve an apartment in the San Juan area of Alicante. As her holiday inched closer, she received nothing but radio silence from the landlord, and hundreds of unanswered calls and texts later, she realised she had been scammed.
“We weren’t able to get in touch with him. We called him a bunch of times and he didn’t answer any of them,” she said.
The scam is genius in its simplicity: fraudsters simply filch some photos and details of a real property and advertise it online for rent; once they receive some money as a deposit, or even payment in full, they disappear, along with the dream holiday.
Too good to be true
The old adage is best applied here and the Organisation of Consumers and Users (OCU) advises that if a holiday home seems like too much of a bargain, it’s probably not legitimate. So shop around, and compare the price of your chosen property to others in the area.
According to the experts, the scam of advertising apartments that aren’t really for rent exploded in 2019, when travellers began favouring the space and distance of villas and houses rather than cramped hotels as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
The con always takes the same form: payment in advance, a phoney landlord and the classic bargain price. To protect yourself from getting swindled, as well as comparing prices, the OCU recommends communicating with the landlord through the rental platform and not via private email or phone and not transferring money outside of the official website.
Customers should always keep a copy of their reservation and be sure to get in contact with the owner or agent of the property well in advance of travel. And above all, be extremely wary of a bargain. If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.
Source: Murcia Today