June 6, 2018
Last Friday the 1st of June we have probably been victims of a fraud on the AP 7.
We communicated the circumstances to the Generalitat de Catalunya. The answer was, to make a ‘denuncia’ at any ‘comisaría’, what I did. Following please find the text of the letter/fax posted to the police, describing in detail the incidence (the initial letter had the ‘denuncia’ in Spanish and CBN has translated it).
Subject: Report on scam on Autopista del Mediterráneo
We have most likely been scammed on the Baix Ebre services by whom appeared to be an English/Irish man on Friday June 1 at 18.00 approximately.
He asked us in English to help him to get back to his country. He claimed that he had his wallet stolen in Alicante that morning with all his money and personal ID, plus his laptop computer. He was accompanied by a blond-haired girl of around 11-years of age, apparently his daughter.
The man was driving a new navy blue Audi A4 with English number plates YA62DLJ, and showed me the tank was practically empty. When I asked why he had not gone to the consulate or the police, he said he had done so, but he would not get assistance until 48 hours. However, he said he needed to get to Calais as soon as possible to reach his ferry booking.
These circumstances somehow mitigated our suspicions (the girl, both well-dressed, new car, almost empty tank). However, I told him I would only pay for €50-worth of petrol and would help him to Cambrils to a cash dispenser to give him more money.
I was really thinking of taking him to a police station to convince myself of his honesty. The man followed us to the L’Hospitalet de L’Infant tolls. At the tolls I asked a member of staff in Spanish where the police station was. Maybe he realized I was trying to get to the police as he did not follow us off the AP7, he must have taken another turn after the tolls.
We later search the internet and discovered Irish gang were using the same trick in Germany. The drove new cars, asked people in English at service stations to help them out, some with whole families, even crying, to earn trust and solidarity.
I write this report, although I do not expect to recover the cash. I do not know if you are aware of the scam in Spain / Cataluña. With this description, we want to help and warn others ahead of the summer holiday campaign.
Although I don’t think that it will have any consequences. Therefore, do you know about similar cases? Perhaps you have already broached this issue in your newspaper.
Otherwise, I would appreciate if you could warn other persons possibly concerned.
Thank you very much.
Dear Mr Haberl
We are aware of different scams operated by gang on service stations along the AP7, mainly in Cataluña. Tactics seems to vary, in other case thieves, claiming to need directions, walk up to drivers while their accomplices steal from your car, others appear to have a puncture and carry out the same routine. Some even stop you saying you have a puncture and ‘offer to help’, while their accomplices are helping themselves. Police are aware and on the lookout, but isolated incidents continue to occur. Thanks to alerting both police and our readers.