Warning to Brits on holiday in Spain as crooks use little-known con to steal valuables – and how to stay safe | The Sun

BRITS should BEWARE of this little-known con that Spanish crooks are using to steal holidaymakers' valuables.

As sunseekers across the country plan to getaway to the continent this summer, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) warned Brits to keep their wits about them.

Thieves are taking advantage of vulnerable tourists who have just arrived in Spain and are making their way to their final destination by road.

A reported "highway of pirates" endanger the roads around Spanish airports in particular and target foreign or hire cars.

Brits should be especially cautious of anyone approaching them claiming to be a police officer if they're wearing plain clothes or travelling in an unmarked vehicle.

Crooks pretending to be the police have been known to con innocent holidaymakers into showing them their ID – then once their wallet is out, the criminals make off with it.

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The DFA urged Brits travelling to Spain to be cautious of the little-known con.

They said: "In all traffic matters, police officers will be in uniform. Unmarked vehicles will have a flashing electronic sign on the rear window, which reads "Policía" 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.

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"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."

Holidaymakers fall for the false-police scam because it's a law in Spain that you have to show your ID on certain occasions.

For example, when paying for something using a credit or debit card, you could be asked to show their driving licence or another form of photo ID.

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."

But Brits don't just need to beware of fake police officers when driving around Spain – as theft from vehicles can be quite common in the country too.

Sunseekers should remember to keep their doors locked, windows rolled up and valuables out of sight, to avoid their holiday turning into hell.

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."

The warning comes after absolute chaos in airports – and airlines look set for more cancellations in Europe-wide strikes ahead of a summer of travel carnage.

Thousands of holidays are in jeopardy as sunseekers are warned walkouts in England, Spain, Italy, Portugal, France and Belgium will make this summer "catastrophic".

The action will turn the screws on families desperate for a hard-earned break after weeks of misery at airports across the country.

Pictures taken at Bristol, Heathrow and Gatwick airports – among others – showed huge snaking queues as Brits raced to check in on time.

Staff from budget airline Ryanair in Spain, Italy, France, Portugal and Belgium will walk out in a row over pay and working conditions.

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