SHOP and restaurant owners have been warned to be aware of a conman operating on the Costa del Sol.
The well-dressed man, who is thought to be Spanish, has been using a clever ruse in an effort to con businesses in Mijas.
The warning comes from Jason Godwin,(pictured) the owner of the chocolate shop, the Mayan Monkey Mijas, after he narrowly avoided falling victim to the trickster.
The dark-skinned man came into the shop and asked to speak ‘urgently’ with the boss, who was out on business.
“So next thing I have received a phone call from him and he spoke to me as if he was my best mate,” said Godwin.
He said he was the son of one of his neighbours Carmen, who worked in the town hall and often visited his shop.
“I really wanted to place this guy and was feeling a little stupid that I couldn’t remember him.
“I also didn’t want to be rude to a client so I asked him how I could help,” he added.
Godwin was then told that ‘David’ had a problem with his car and that he needed to borrow €30 or his car would be towed away.
He added that his mum had suggested that Godwin might be able to help.
“The guy was good,” continued Godwin. “He was using pressure, speed and familiarity, but I realised he was a scammer and told him that I wasn’t going to give him a penny and hung up.”
But the trickster fooled staff in the shop into thinking he was still on the phone and pretended to end the call with the words: ‘Thank you Jason, I’ll tell them’.
He then informed the staff that Godwin had authorised them to hand over €30.
Fortunately Godwin was able to call one of the staff on another line and warn them not to hand over any money.
When the conman realised he had been thwarted he quickly disappeared.
Godwin added: “I think that conmen are getting much more creative as the crisis deepens, so be careful!”
A variation on the old stay-on-the-line trick. The mistake made here is that the boss should have told the staff to agree so that the trickster would come for the money, and could then be apprehended and/or identified. The UK is changing the telephone system to stop this sort of scam; Telefonica should follow suit.
I don’t think you’ve understood, Fred. The would-be conman was not on the line but was in the shop, in person.