Brit holidaymakers sent urgent warning with scammers stealing valuables in Spain by pretending to be police

The thieves, known as 'highway pirates', are targeting foreign-registered and hire car in the vicinity of airports

Published

Brit holidaymakers have been sent an urgent warning over scammers pretending to be Spanish police officers that are stealing people's valuables.

Millions of tourists head to Spain every summer as they seek warm weather.

But with thieves already taking advantage of some tourists, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) have issued an urgent warning.

The scammers are targeting those who have just arrived into the country and are travelling by road.

The scammers are posing as police officers
The scammers are posing as police officers

They are targeting those travelling in foreign cars or hire vehicles close to airports across the country.

People are being urged to be cautious, especially if someone approaches them claiming to be a police officer but is in plain clothes or travelling in an unmarked police car.

Reports suggest that the thieves ask their targets to show their ID, before stealing their wallet and driving off.

The DFA said: "Be aware of 'highway pirates' who target foreign-registered and hire cars. We’re aware of such activity in the vicinity of airports, in particular.

"Some will try to make you stop, claiming there is something wrong with your car or that you have damaged theirs.

"In some cases, they will even deliberately orchestrate a collision in order to get you to stop and exit your car, before stealing personal belongings from you.

"If you decide to stop to check the condition of your or their vehicle, try to stop in an area with lights and people, such as a service station, and be extremely wary of anyone offering help."

Thieves are acting in the vicinity of airports across Spain
Thieves are acting in the vicinity of airports across Spain

They added: "In all traffic matters, police officers will be in uniform. Unmarked vehicles will have a flashing electronic sign on the rear window, which reads 'Policia' or ‘Guardia Civil’, and normally have blue flashing lights incorporated into the headlights.

"In non-traffic matters, police officers may be in plain clothes. However, you have the right to ask a police officer to identify themselves.

"Also, a genuine police officer will not request that you hand over your bag or wallet.

“If they ask you for identification, show them photographic ID such as your passport or driver's licence.

"If in any doubt, you should converse through the car window and contact the Guardia Civil on 062 or the Spanish National Police on 112 and ask them to confirm that the registration number of the vehicle corresponds to an official police vehicle."

Many tourists fall for the little-known scam because it is a law in Spain to show your ID when using your credit or debit card.

The DFA website says: "Everyone in Spain, regardless of nationality, must show ID when using credit and debit cards.

"You may be able to use a driving licence or a photocopy of your passport, but you may be asked to show your original passport.