Police warning after bogus holiday flat scam
Police have issue urgent advice to all holiday-makers after a bogus rental scam was uncovered on the mainland.
They are aware of at least 30 victims of the fraud which duped people who thought they were booking an apartment over the internet.
Two people have been arrested in Todelo after a woman made an official complaint. They are believed to have gained at least 4,000 euros by asking for deposits of between 100 euros and 200 euros.
The holiday apartments were advertised on the net as part of a “For Sale” page, giving a telephone number of the so-called owner. When contact was made, the unsuspecting client was asked to pay a deposit to secure the property. However, once the money had been received, nothing was heard from them again and the telephone line was discontinued.
The couple behind the scam were caught because one of the deposits was sent to a post office and police found their names and whereabouts.
Contact was also made with those who had been duped and in some instances, they were already on their way to the bogus property which never existed.
When the couple’s home was raided, police found a selection of SIM cards which were used to try and avoid detection.
Their advice to people is not to pay money up front unless or until they are absolutely satisfied that everything is genuine. People should try and use known sites where possible and avoid responding to anything which doesn’t have a recognisable phone code and number.
Police say if the price of the property sounds too good to be true, it probably is exactly that.
It is also advised to try and read reviews of previous renters, make sure any payments are made in a secure way and ask for authentication of the property if in any doubts.
Where possible, try to get some form of contract about the hiring and if you do fall victim to a scam, go straight to the police and file a complaint.