Holiday Rental Scam Uncovered In Malaga

Online Holiday Scam

Online holiday scam. Credit: Undrey/

UNSUSPECTING holidaymakers were duped by a gang based in Malaga that offered non-existent holiday rentals.

A sophisticated fraud operation, that specialised in fake vacation rental adverts, has recently been uncovered by the National Police.

In an operation led by the Central Cybercrime Unit, three individuals were arrested, adding to the five previously apprehended in Torrejon de Ardoz, Madrid, in July. This major breakthrough effectively dismantles a notorious gang involved in online vacation rental scams.

Investigation Sparked by Citizen Tip-Off

The investigation, initiated in March 2023, was triggered by a tip-off to the Central Cybercrime Unit’s open channel. A victim reported a fraudulent rental housing advertisement encountered on various online platforms. The National Police’s Network Section, whose responsibilities include scrutinising online content responded quickly.

Deception and Disappearance

The scam’s method was cunning yet simple. The culprits posted rental property ads on diverse platforms and social networks.

Once victims transferred their reservation fees, the adverts would vanish, leaving them with no means to contact the advertisers. This ploy caused significant financial and emotional distress to unsuspecting holidaymakers.

Arrests And Revelations

The arrests were made in a Madrid municipality and in Malaga, unmasking the entire network. Among those apprehended were a woman, who operated the Malaga address as the scam‘s epicentre, and two men.

One man managed the bank account receiving the illicit funds, while the other, deemed the organisation’s third in command, handled communications with the victims. These individuals were integral to the operation’s success, but their capture marks a significant victory for cybercrime prevention efforts.

A Cautionary Tale

The case serves as a  reminder of the pitfalls lurking in online transactions. The National Police continue to encourage public vigilance and prompt reporting of suspicious activities.

Thanks to the collaborative efforts of law enforcement and the public, deceptive schemes can be dismantled, protecting potential victims from financial loss and emotional turmoil.

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Written by

John Ensor

Originally from Doncaster, Yorkshire, John now lives in Galicia, Northern Spain with his wife Nina. He is passionate about news, music, cycling and animals.