Sixty people have been arrested in Valencia for defrauding 20 million euros using a fake inheritance scam
I am sure everyone has had an email at some time from some far off distant relative stating you have inherited a small fortune, contact this solicitor now with your bank details etc. This is called the Nigerian letters Scam, DO NOT fall for it.
Guardia civil agents have arrested 60 people and are investigating five others in the province of Valencia for allegedly committing scams through the method known as 'Nigerian letters', in which the false inheritance of a non-existent fortune if they make a series of payments in advance. So far, alleged scams worth 20 million euros have been cleared up.
This investigation, dubbed Operation Risala , has dismantled a supposed international criminal organisation based in Valencia, with leaders of Nigerian origin and apparently working the f 'Nigerian letters', scam, according to a statement from Benemérita.
It seems the Fake Inheritance scam has been paying benefits for some. The police have also ceased/confiscated more than one million euros in counterfeit dollars, 250,000 euros in banknotes of various values and bank accounts have been blocked with an estimated amount of 270,000 euros.
The operation began in February 2018 as a result of a complaint received through the United States Department of the Interior, in which a resident of that country reported that they had contacted her to indicate that it could be the heir of a person who had died without close relatives. The emails indicated that it was a large amount of money that was deposited in Spain and that, in order to receive the money they had to make a series of transfers as payment of the necessary taxes.
Apparently, the leaders of this organization sent mass emails or faxes from a fictitious lawyer , with the offer of the supposed inheritance of several million euros in which they made believe that a relative of the recipient had died in Spain without heirs and that in case you want to receive the inheritance, you should bear management costs.
When someone was deceived, another member of the organization was posing as the director of the security company or the bank where the money would be deposited and managed to make transfers to carry out the "procedures" to collect the inheritance. Some victims even moved to Valencia from their countries of origin to manage the inheritance.
The alleged members of this gang prepared a whole staging in which a woman generally picked up the people in a taxi at the hotel where they were staying and took them to the Tax Office itself, where it pretended to process the documents.
From there they were transferred to a storage complex that pretended to be a security company, where another member of the organization showed them the safety box where the inheritance would be deposited and charged them in cash for part of the "management expenses". When they paid the "fees," they were told that the lawyer handling their case was ill and would contact them to continue the process.
Once in their countries of origin , the victims apparently received communications with excuses for the delay in payment due to the fault of the Spanish organizations and courts, sending them falsified documents supposedly issued by the Supreme Court or Tax Agency, among others, and that they had to continue making payments for the expenses of managing an inheritance that would never come.
To carry out these events, the alleged leaders of the organization allegedly had a network of 'mules' distributed throughout the national territory , some of which had organized a business network to apparently try to give a greater aspect of legality to the transactions they received from the injured parties. These 'mules' extracted the money in cash or transferred it to other members of the organization whose supposed mission was to serve as couriers and, using money transfer systems in call shops, purchase various merchandise for later shipment to Nigeria in containers.
The majority of victims were born between 1940 and 1950 all nationals and residents in foreign countries mainly in the United States, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, Slovenia, Korea South, Australia, Germany, France and Chile among others.
Please note this article has been translated from Spanish to English so some details may be lost in translation, read the original here at lasprovincias
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ATM Machines the scams, which ones to avoid using so you don´t incur massive charges. This article also covers tampered machines and what to look out for- Keep yourself and your money safe.
The term ATM means - Automated/automatic Teller Machine
3rd March, Unlicenced ATMs - Benidorm town hall has had to "hold fire" on its plan to force the companies that own the 196 unlicenced ATM machines that are scattered around Benidorm to remove them. These machines charge high commissions, and give poor exchange rates, and have given rise to lots of complaints from tourists.
Reason for the "ceasefire". Due to a "computer error" the city council did not notify the owners of the machines in the correct way, and now have to give them 15 days to present appeals against the orders to remove them all.
LOCAL NEWS - 3rd February 2023 UNLICENCED ATMs
Benidorm town hall has finally started action, against the companies that operate the multitude of what they say are unlicenced ATM machines around the town.
The town hall has identified 196 machines, owned and run by 3 companies, which charge high commissions and give lower rates, especially to non Eurozone country customers.
The town hall has imposed a fine of 392,000€ which equates to around 2,000€ per machine, and given the three operators one month to remove them, under threat of much bigger fines.
The companies involved are - Euronet 360 LTD, which operate at least 137 money dispensers in Benidorm; Cardtronics SL, with 37 devices identified by the municipal inspection; and Euro Automatic Cash Entidad de Pago SL, with another 22.
The town hall adds that they are operating in town without the pertinent licences, nor paying corresponding taxes. They go on to say that the hidden commission on these can be around 4.5%, on non Eurozone customers.
Over the last few years, you may have noticed that a lot of new ATM machines have been installed all over the town…. DO NOT use these unless in an emergency. The reason there are so many of these arounds is because they make money out of people using them……
If you use a local Spanish bank card these machines are not too bad to use, but as a tourist using a foreign Bank Card, you are likely to lose up to 20% of your money on withdrawals and fees.
Firstly, these machines give you the option to withdraw large amounts of money ie 1000€, they will then give you the worst exchange rate they can (decline their conversation offer), not only that but you may be charged up to 5 pounds with every transaction, as stated above this can amount to you loosing up to 20% of your hard-earned money.
Always try to use the ATM machines at the main banks or those supplied by the banks, where you will get a better exchange rate and will be charged less commission, (commission rates will vary depending upon your bank, so read the small print). Also, as a safeguard always inform your bank that you are going on holiday in Spain, that way they will be expecting some withdrawals from your account in Spain, if you don´t do this you run the risk of having your card blocked.
Other ATM Scams
Guardia Civil warn of new ATM scam in Spain. Many thieves have specialized in the so-called “false front”, which consists of a simulation of the cashier equipped with cameras to capture the key of the card . This is why it is also recommended to check that there is no evidence of tampering. Of course, this also applies all over the world and not just here in Benidorm.
If you have problems with any ATM machine that you think may have been tampered with in any way, please contact the bank direct and call 062 or 112.
Things to look for –
and in English –
1 false front capture your key and money
2 bulky card slots may mean there is a skimmer
3 Loose slots, could be fake
4 loose keyboards, could be false
5 pay attention to who is around they may be waiting to use distraction techniques.
PLEASE BE AWARE OF WHAT IS GOING ON AROUND YOU WHEN TAKING MONEY OUT OF ANY ATM MACHINE ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD.
What to do when the ATM does not give you your money?
It may happen that we go to an ATM to withdraw money and after performing the correct banking operation, the machine does not give us the tickets. What to do then?
The Guardia Civil recommends a series of actions such as checking that the slot is not blocked, not trusting "volunteer helpers" and calling the bank. In addition, in no case should you leave the place:
ATM scams, The Lebanese Loop
The Civil Guard warns of the latest ATM fraud using the "Lebanese loop" technique.
The name of the "Lebanese loop" responds, in police jargon, to the method by which criminals keep money from ATMs. To do this, they stick a glue stick to the cashier's banknote extraction slot and when any customer comes to withdraw cash, the money stays rolled up inside the bar and the machine ends the transaction . The victim does not receive the money that he wanted to subtract but thinks that it is a technical fault of the cashier and leaves the place. Thus, scammers have a free way to approach the bar with the tickets stuck.
More information on Crime and other Scams to be aware of can be found HERE
WARNING - THE BENIDORM PEA MEN. DO NOT stop, as enticing as it seems with all the cheering and clapping. The majority of the so called spectators are actually members of the gang trying to lure you to stop and take part. They will wave a 20€ or even 50€ note saying they had just won and how easy it is. There is no such thing as a free lunch - you will possibly also lose your wallet in the process as they also work with local pickpockets = expert thieves who will mingle with the distracted people in the crowd and steal their valuables which is why it is important to have nothing to do with them, DO NOT EVEN STOP TO WATCH, CROSS THE ROAD.
This is the oldest con game in the world - and we are amazed that ANYBODY would fall for it! This is similar to the game Chase the Ace/Hunt the lady, which is played with cards and seen all over the world.
But in Benidorm thousands of people still fall for it every year! It works like this...A guy will shuffle three shells/potatoes - one of which has a pea or a pebble under it, he will take bets from the crowd - can they guess which shell (or egg-cup etc) the pea (or pebble) is under, he will have a few "plants" in the crowd - and they will win. He will make it easy to guess where the pea is - when YOUR money is not involved. But as soon as you put your money down - he will win easily - He will take your money EVERY TIME! These men are expert hustlers and you cannot beat them!
We receive countless posts on the facebook group about the police doing nothing regarding the pea men.
Think it´s time we pointed out a few issues that result in the police not actually being able to do very much. Laws in Spain can be complex just like many laws in the UK. The Pea Men are VERY aware of the law. Lets have a look at this closely.
1. It is not illegal to play a game in the street.
2. It is illegal to gamble in the street.
3. The Pea men are not gambling…they are pretending to gamble. There is a big difference under law.
4. When a tourist decides to join in the game by placing a bet, it is the tourist who is breaking the law, not the Pea Men. Remember Gambling is illegal. (This would also apply to a Police Officer in plain clothes)
5. The Pea Men are still not gambling…they are aware it is a trick, so therefore no gamble.
6. The money is offered by the tourist. That is not theft.
WHEN IN BENIDORM: AVOID THE PEA MEN
In short the only people the police can actually arrest in theory is the tourist. For the police to be able to act against the pea men they must be able to PROVE that the game is deliberately set up as a scam for the purpose of conning tourists. To try to define what is deliberate, the law states a figure of 400€ must be found on the person/people carrying out the scam. The Pea Men are aware of this and simply make sure they do not carry that amount at any one time. This effectively means the Police can do absolutely nothing other than confiscate a cardboard box and a few potatoes and warn them. The surrounding pick pockets are the only ones the Police can actually act against. However, to achieve anything they basically have to catch them red handed carrying out the act. It is not illegal to have money in their pockets and unless they have been foolish enough to hold on to a wallet or purse again they get a warning and off they go.
Stop expecting the Police to act outside of the law and use some common sense. When you see them…WALK ON. Stop to watch and you are inviting trouble.
Update 26th August -Benidorm approves to request a reform of the law so that the trile is considered a crime
The plenary session of the City Council today approved, unanimously and urgently, a motion urging the General Courts to reform the law so that the practice of "illegal activities", such as 'the trile', "do not enjoy the impunity with which current legislation treats them
PLEASE NOTE THAT GAMBLING IS ILLEGAL IN SPAIN SO IT IS ALSO ILLEGAL TO PLAY THIS GAME
All other information about CRIME and SCAMS can be found in this section of the WEBSITE
Thieves and scammers make a living preying on the kind hearts and naivete of tourists. Familiarize yourself with this scam and save your money. The Deaf-Mute Scam and the Fake Petition Scam typically involves women or young girls as the scammers. Some are pregnant, but on occasion young boys and old men may also use this scam. Women and young girls find this scam as a fairly easy one to get money from unsuspecting tourists.
There are people who are legitimately disabled and may use this method as a way to obtain money. Scammers are exploiting sympathetic feelings of visitors. Sadly, the majority of the women who approach you and identify themselves as a deaf mute or solicit you with a fake petition are simply trying to scam you and take your money.
Fake Petition Scam and How it Works
When it comes to the Fake Petition Scam, know that the majority of the time the petition the scammer shows you is not official. It is not even a petition. The fake petition will be some type of official looking paper that is asking for some type of donation to a charity. The types of charities vary, but the ones that have the most pull on your heart strings works best for them – those include orphanages, crippled, homeless, deaf, and or blind children's charities – it does not matter what is printed on the form. The most devious use the name of an official charity, but the money never goes to them.
The petition is usually in English – which should immediately raise your suspicion as you are in a non-English speaking country. You are being targeted as an tourist. It is only a ruse to swindle you out of your money.
If you give a small donation, many times the scammer will draw your attention to the clipboard they are using that has the petition you signed and point to the part of the form that states “Minimum 2, 3, 5 or even 10 Euros” the scammer will use a paper with different rates depending on how much money they think they can scam you out of.
What’s interesting about the above petition is that you can see how much money people have given – most around ten Euros – or at least that’s what is being shown to the tourist – the scammer has usually filled in all previous information on the form to make it look legitimate.
How the Deaf-Mute Scam Works
The scam is straightforward. The scammer approaches the mark (usually a tourist) with a piece of paper and a pen, pretending to be deaf. The paper names a couple of charities, both real and fake, and bears the signatures of a few previous marks. The current mark is asked for money, and if he/she is naive enough, they give money. In some cases, the paper and request for money serve as a distraction for stealing a wallet or purse. As mentioned, most of the time these people are not deaf – they are just acting to prey on a traveller’s sympathy.
This scam is committed anywhere tourists can be found. Fortunately, there is not so much of this going on here in Benidorm as there is in cities such as Paris where it is a major problem.
THE SOLUTION - JUST SAY NO AND KEEP WALKING OR COMPLETELY IGNORE THEM IF THEY CATCH YOU DURING A MEAL.
FIND INFORMTION ON OTHER COMMON SCAMS IN BENIDORM HERE
Join the Benidorm Seriously Facebook Group
The camera, phone shop scam is operated out of respectable looking camera/phone shops all around Benidorm. We have been aware of this scam for a long time but one of our Benidorm Seriously Members became a victim a couple of weeks ago. The shop our member used is just round the corner from the Sol Pelicanos hotel but there are lots around, most of them on the Avd Mediterreano. DO NOT GO INTO THESE SHOPS
This scam is run by small teams of con-artists (usually three Asian men).
How the camera, phone shop scam works...
The first guy stands outside - chatting to passing tourists in order to lure them into the shop. He will be an expert at this - he will seem totally harmless - and you won't want to offend him. The conversation will go something like this.
"Hi, Are you having a nice holiday? Where are you from? My girlfriend lives in Leeds. I hope to live there one day."
"But for now I have to work here in Benidorm - not enough work in Leeds!"
He will tell you a bit about his job - how he likes it because he gets to talk to lots of British people. He will casually mention the fantastic "tax-free" bargains in his shop - and then he will make his move!
DO NOT GET INTO CONVERSATION WITH THIS MAN, JUST WALK ON BY
If you follow him into the shop you're history!
He will shove a camera into your hands - a good camera - usually a Sony or a JVC.
He will tell you the price - a price you can't resist. He is an expert at knowing your "bargain threshold".
"This camera costs hundreds of pounds in England - but here it's only 90 Euros!"
Ninety Euros for a Sony Video Camera! You can't believe your luck! And if you frown, he'll drop the price even lower. But there is no way in a million years that he intends to let you leave with that camera for 90 Euros!
Once you agree to buy the Sony his job is done. He will pass you over to his colleague - scam-artist 2.
Scam artist 2 will invite you to the back end of the shop - to process your payment.
He will insist that you sit in a very comfortable chair, and he will offer you a drink (beer, wine, whatever you want).
He will take your credit card payment using an old-style credit-card machine - creating a carbon paper receipt. There are modern chip & pin card readers in the shop - but he won't use one for this transaction because he has no intention of completing this sale.
They may also offer to accompany you to a cash machine to get more money out, DO NOT GO our member did this and found once they had returned home the card had already been cloned in the shop and more money taken out of the account to the value of £1.385, ALSO the amount that was quoted for the items was not the amount that was taken in payment from the account.
Scam artist 3 will show you how the camera works. This will take a while -
"Because we don't have instruction book in English."
He will tell you that the Sony you have "bought" is good but "slightly out of date" -
and he will be keen to show you the latest thing in video cameras from some other manufacturer.
You'll say that you are happy with the Sony - but so as not to offend him you will let him to show you the latest thing. By now you will suspect that you are being conned - but everyone is so friendly and you won't want to offend them.
Scam-artist 3 will demonstrate the difference in quality between the two cameras.
He will do this by plugging them into a TV and comparing their pictures on the screen. This is part of his con - the TV is adjusted so that the Sony looks nowhere near as good as the latest thing. There will be no denying it - the latest thing is far better!
And as you watch helplessly he will do some fancy tricks on a calculator - working out your amazing discount on the latest thing - including knocking off the 90 Euros that you have already "paid" for the Sony.
By now you KNOW you've been had - but you are still too polite to offend these "nice guys" by walking out. Plus, the Sony has now been moved away - so you can't just pick it up and leave,
and you believe that he already has 90 Euros of your money - so you can't just make a run for freedom!
Scam-artist 3 will not be denied.
He will separate you from at least £350 of your hard earned money for "the latest thing". He will tear up your carbon-copy payment slip - and bring out a proper chip&pin machine to take your real payment.
They will then offer to gift wrap the item for you, DO NOT LET THEM DO THIS they will chat happily away to you distracting you from what they are doing and present you with a perfectly wrapped box, telling you your receipt is in the box. Upon arriving home and opening the box you will find that the camera you thought you had brought is NOT in the box but a very cheap alternative. i.e you will pay 450€ for a camera and when you open the box the camera you have been given is only worth 60€ also there will be no sign of a receipt so you wont know the price you have paid until you get your credit card statement.
They WILL take your money if they get you into their shop - so DON'T BE LURED IN BY THE NICE GUY OUTSIDE!
NOTE: This scam doesn't always involve cameras - it can also involve laptops, ipods, smart-phones - you name it! OUR GROUP MEMBER ALSO PURCHASED A MOBILE PHONE WHICH ON ARRIVING HOME TURNED OUT TO BE A FAKE AND DID NOT WORK
REMEMBER IF AN OFFER APPEARS TO GOOD TO BE TRUE, IT PROBABLY IS, DO NOT FALL FOR THIS SCAM
READ HERE FOR MORE SCAMS IN BENIDORM
For details on how to report a crime in Benidorm