Ten arrested for renting out non-existent homes on the coast of Spain

Lifeguards rescue FOUR including two 6-year-olds off Cala Mijo beach in Spain's Águilas. Image: Ines Porada/Shutterstock.com

NATIONAL Police officers have arrested ten members of a criminal organisation which was advertising already occupied holiday homes for rent through different web sites according to a police press release issued on December 28.

The criminals obtained photographs of various properties in Benidorm, Fuengirola and Gandia and then offered them for rent using specially created contact telephone numbers purporting to belong to either the property owner or an agency. 

Once they had been contacted by potential renters, they asked for a deposit of between €250 and €350 to be sent in the form of a cheque or other monetary document and then used third parties, often drug addicts, to cash the documents as part of the fraud.

It is believed that this activity had been going on for some four years and the investigation commenced in 2015 when officers dedicated to spotting internet fraud became aware of the adverts which appeared to be suspicious.

In addition, the officers were able to identify the fact that other scams were taking place, including one whereby they offered high-tech products which required advance payment and once payment was received, no goods were dispatched.

Raids were undertaken in the provinces of Madrid and Toledo where a great deal of computer  equipment was seized and checked which resulted in the eventual arrest of 10 individuals who are suspected of fraud, belonging to a criminal organisation and possible breach of residential status.

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