Watch out for these scammers at Spanish toll gates

by Lorraine Williamson
Toll scammers

MADRID – During this period many people are on their way to or from their holiday destination. In Spain, the police warn of an increasing number of scams on highways, especially at toll gates. And because forewarned is forewarned… 

The Spanish police warn of criminals driving behind you as you approach the toll gate. When you stop to pay the toll, one of them quickly gets out to make a small cut in tourists’ tyres, slowly deflating them. Then, as soon as the driver has to stop the car, the scammers strike. 

The trick works as follows: after the tyre deflates and the driver stops, a ‘helpful’ passerby offers to help change or repair the tyre. While this ‘helper’ distracts the driver, accomplices rob the car. Then, before the driver realises it, the criminals disappear with valuables such as mobile phones, laptops and handbags. 

Recently, the Catalan police released images showing how a Dutch Porsche driver falls victim to this trick at a toll gate. While paying the toll, a criminal from another car punctures one of his tyres. 

The Catalan police, Mossos d’Esquadra, emphasises that this is a well-known scam trick in southern Europe. They advise to always be alert, lock the car and keep an eye on your valuables or keep them with you if you stop because of a flat tyre. 

Other scam tricks 

In addition, the police warn of other tricks. For example, there are known cases of scammers posing as victims of theft and asking for money in fluent English to return home. There is also a trick where thieves ask to make a payment with a debit card in exchange for cash, which later turns out to be counterfeit money. 

Finally, the police advise to completely switch off electronic devices when they are left in the car. Thieves can use WiFi and Bluetooth detectors to detect which cars contain valuable equipment. 

Also read: One of the most common fraud scams is carding

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