A TORREVIEJA holiday rental scam has been busted by the Guardia Civil with three Spaniards arrested- some of whom had previously committed similar frauds.

30 victims from Germany, Algeria, Colombia, Ecuador, Poland, Ukraine and Spain were fooled by bogus online vacation property adverts.

A European Court Order was also issued in Freiburg, Germany after a couple were defrauded of €3,000.

The Guardia Civil received a high level of complaints in February and March from people being scammed over Torrevieja holiday lets.

The fraudsters impersonated genuine real estate agencies and mocked up websites to offer rentals of properties that they did not own.

Unsuspecting clients made bank and cash transfers of either deposits or full sums for their stays, and were left out of pocket as the scammers dropped all contact with them.

The Guardia swooped on three Torrevieja homes to arrest the fraudsters and seized €16,000 in cash and blocked 16 bank accounts as well as impounding eight cars and eight properties.

The operation is still continuing as more documentation is being analysed to see if further victims can be identified.

People have been urged to be cautious when using online platforms to avoid becoming a victim of a real estate scam.

The Guardia recommends potential clients to ask for proof of the existence of the property, be wary of cut-price offers, and to find out more about the advertiser and the website before making any payments.

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