At the beginning of August the Territorial Team of the Judicial Police (ETPJ) of the Civil Guard , Costa Teguise arrested 4 people in Madrid, 2 Spanish Nationals and two foreigners in an operation which began in Lanzarote. The four accused all aged between 22 and 47 years of age were identified only by their initials and are accused of fraud, and falsification of documents.
As a result of several complaints lodged on the island regarding alleged internet scams for renting holiday homes, an investigation was initiated to examine the methods used to carry out the scams and the number of other offences that could have occurred ,collecting evidence of other similar cases between November ,2016 and June 2017.
The advertisements were spread through various web pages for holiday rentals and the scammers, after contacting potential victims, produced model rental contracts and then requested payment by bank transfer for reservations. At the same time they requested a bank transfer for a reservation and a photocopy of the id of the victim. After sending the documentation by email and the transfer of the requested funds, all contact with the advertisers was lost.
To give more credibility to the scam a woman with a Spanish accent would telephone clients giving reassurances as to the seriousness of the transactions, the contact phone number varied from one advert to another.
Sometimes the fraudulent ads were copies of previous lawful advertisements, or were offers to rent non-existent houses. Some unfortunate victims did not realise the deception until their arrival at Guacimeta airport.
For the publication of false advertisements and the drawing up of false lease contracts, the alleged scammers used third-party identities that had been collected previously by different means, including those of previous victims.
The Costa Teguise Judicial Police have located a large number of victims, clarifying for the moment a total of 15 scam crimes which , initially, appeared to be isolated incidents but were then all linked to the activities of a criminal organization. The investigation is still open and possible other arrests have not been ruled out.