24 Oct, 2022 @ 15:00
1 min read

British embassy warns of possible scams targeting residents of Spain holding UK driving licences

Driving licence Scam
Screenshots of a conversation with the would-be scammers.

THE BRITISH embassy in Spain has issued a warning that scammers may be trying to take advantage of the driving licence debacle, with “offers of attaining a Spanish licence in exchange for cash”. 

Adverts are reported to have appeared on Facebook that promise a solution for UK licence holders resident in Spain. This group of people has been unable to legally drive on Spanish roads since May 1, while the UK and Spain hammer out the details of a post-Brexit agreement. 

The alarm was first raised about the attempted fraud in a Facebook group named “Invasion of the British embassy in Madrid for the DL exchange issue”. The group was set up to campaign for a solution to the issue, and now counts on more than 700 members. 

A user named Kein posted a series of screenshots in the group of a WhatsApp conversation with the would-be scammers, who requested a series of personal details as well as a total payment of €550. 

Speaking to The Olive Press, Kein explained that he had seen the service advertised on Facebook and that he “knew it was a scam from the beginning”. “Please don’t even try to do any business with these guys,” he wrote on Facebook. 

The advice from the embassy was included on social media posts on Friday, in which the ambassador, Hugh Elliott, offered his latest update on negotiations between Spain and the UK. The ambassador explained that there were two outstanding points still being hammered out between the two sides, but offered no date for a solution.

Residents of Spain who either had not or were unable to exchange their UK licences for Spanish ones before a December 2020 deadline have been left in a desperate situation, with many unable to get to work, shop, attend medical appointments or see family. 

Four representatives from the Facebook group met with the ambassador last Tuesday to convey their problems and concerns. The administrator of the group, Pascual Siegmund, told The Olive Press that they “had a constructive meeting and felt we were listened to”.

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Simon Hunter

Simon Hunter has been living in Madrid since the year 2000 and has worked as a journalist and translator practically since he arrived. For 16 years he was at the English Edition of Spanish daily EL PAÍS, editing the site from 2014 to 2022, and is currently one of the Spain reporters at The Times. He is also a voice actor, and can be heard telling passengers to "mind the gap" on Spain's AVLO high-speed trains.

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