Expats In Spain Targeted In Gas Inspection Scam

By ExpatBriefing.com Editorial 30 May, 2014

Police in Spain say that they have apprehended a criminal gang targeting elderly foreign residents with bogus gas repairs.

Members of the gang would offer to inspect gas installations for EUR50 (USD68), but then demand around EUR1,200 for supposedly fixing problems that in fact did not exist. Police say the scam netted up to EUR4m from up to 5,000 victims, most of whom were German, British, and Dutch expats living in the Balearic Islands.

Victims who were seen as well off were targeted for repeat visits, and in some cases the scammers also stole valuables. As a result of the police operation, codenamed "CH4," 26 people have so far been arrested.

Bogus gas inspections are a long-standing problem in Spain. In March, it was reported that a gang operating the same scam across the country, and particularly in Andalucia, had threatened to cut off pensioners' gas supplies and issue fines unless they were paid for unnecessary repairs.

Police advise householders to verify the identity of callers by phoning the company they say they work for. However, they should also check that they have the company's official phone number, as a caller may instead provide the phone number for an accomplice. Householders should also only sign paperwork or pay money when someone they trust is present, and they should not be impressed by suits, briefcases, or official-looking documents.

Tags: Spain | Expats | Welfare |


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