Scams in Spain to Avoid
Whether or not you speak Spanish, you could find yourself targeted by a scam in Spain. Not all scams are online, your “friendly” utilities rep may not be all he/she seems! Take a look at our round up and remember: forewarned is forearmed.
The UK Pension Scam
The Pensions Regulator estimates that over £500 million has been lost by expats due to pension scammers. Scams include pension loans, offshore investments, switching a pension into a company you own and pension liberation. Although some of these are legal (limitations may apply), fees of up to 30% can be charged, leaving you with a diminished pension pot.
What to do? Read of the Financial Conduct Authority’s “Avoid Scams and Unauthorised Firms” and how to report one if you’ve been a victim. Of particular interest is the article on early pension release, where they state, “Find out how early pension release works and why accessing your pension before you are 55 will cost you most of the money in it”
The Utilities Rep
Who hasn’t received a knock on the door from your local utilities rep offering better prices and discounts? As these reps have an ID card from whichever company they are supposed to be representing, everything seems genuine.
The scam is that they are actually intermediaries working on a commission-only basis and the “discounts” exist, but they are applied on a higher tariff.
What should you do? Never sign anything there and then and let them know that you’ll call the company to check. To avoid the theft of personal data (for example to change a utilities contracts without your knowledge), all new contracts must be signed or agreed to by email or by phone.
WhatsApp / SMS Scams
These are around in a variety of forms. With one you’re promised an Ikea / Mercadona voucher worth 150€ just by filling in an online survey. This is just a scam to get your personal details.
Another one is when you receive an SMS to let you know that a package has arrived with a phone number to call to arrange for delivery. The phone number is a cleverly disguised premium rate number, if you call you’ll be on hold for several minutes before you realise you’ve been duped.
What to do? Make sure you can’t make any premium rate calls (check with your provider regarding how to block these services) and remember if something seems too good to be true, it usually is.