Fines scam by Costa conmen

Started by Newshound, June 23, 2004, 19:20:52

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Newshound

Fines scam by Costa conmen

TOURISTS are being targeted by swindlers trying to con them into paying bogus traffic fines after they come home from Spanish resorts.

It is believed that conmen - based on the Costa del Sol - have found home addresses on databases, including timeshare ownership lists, on the Canary Islands.

Victims have received official-looking letters from an agency said to be working on behalf of the Justice Department of Gran Canaria. They say the tourist has been found guilty of a traffic offence and must pay a fine and costs.

The British Embassy in Spain has warned about the sting and trading standards officers around Britain have been alerted.

Widower Richard Kirk, 69, from Swinton, received a letter last week demanding £85 for an alleged offence committed in March.

It said that if he did not pay before June 25, Spanish authorities would seek compensation through the British judicial system and a county court judgement would be issued against him.

The letter said money should be sent by international bank transfer to an address in Madrid, the Spanish capital.

The envelope was postmarked Mijas Costa, a seafront resort on the Costa del Sol.

Mr Kirk said: "I've not been to Gran Canaria for about 12 years and I have never driven there.

Worried

"At first I was quite concerned and wondered if someone had got hold of my driving licence and used it on the island. My late wife Rita and I used to own timeshare properties on Gran Canaria and Tenerife. But I sold them in early 2003."

Mr Kirk alerted the Citizens' Advice Bureau. He said: "There is every chance that some elderly people might just be worried and pay the money."

Last month the M.E.N. reported how a man from Denton received notification of a motoring fine after visiting the Canary Islands although he had not driven during his trip. It appears this was part of the scam which is targeting large numbers of people.

Mr Kirk's case was one of two which Salford and Swinton CAB have dealt with in the past week. Swinton CAB manager Steve Thompson said: "Our major concern is to alert potential victims who might be conned into paying the fine."

Ron Pennington, of Salford Trading Standards, said: "We would urge anyone from Salford who has received such a letter to contact us so that we can pass on the information for the Spanish authorities to investigate.

"If anyone in Greater Manchester receives such a letter they should contact their local trading standards officers."

A statement on the website of the British Embassy in Spain says: "The `fine' MUST NOT be paid. This is a new scam."

It instructs victims to contact police in Las Palmas, the capital of Gran Canaria.



Cotswolder

This scam hit owners at Anfi Del Mar, Gran Canaria last Thursday.

Letters are coming from two sources in Mijas & Fuengirola.

The Anfi UK Members Group warned its members of this scam as soon as it hit last week.

It would be good to know if only Anfi owners have been targeted or if other Gran Canaria resorts are affected.

Feedback to the Chairman of Anfi UK Members Group at enquiries@anfiuk.co.uk would be very much appreciated
My thoughts are my own. Please do not use them without my permission.

Regards,
Cotswolder

Cotswolder

My thoughts are my own. Please do not use them without my permission.

Regards,
Cotswolder

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