The Camera Shop Scam
This scam is run by small teams of con-artists (usually three Asian men).
They operate out of respectable looking camera 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 is how it 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
For details on how to report a crime in Benidorm click HERE