Safety tips   

Beware! - General Safety tips

Although in general the crime rate is quite low in Spain, the awful case of the O'Malleys in Benidorm serves to remind us all to be extra careful. It is a sad fact that there are people in Spain (both Spanish and British) who spend their lives trying to defraud people who they see as rich and na´ve tourists, especially in coastal areas. To keep the conmen at bay, please bear the following tips in mind when you're in Spain:

  • Do not be lulled into a false sense of security because a particular contact is British or speaks good English - treat all business deals in Spain with the same caution as you would in the UK
  • Do not give a large deposit to any workman. It is not usual to pay a large amount upfront for materials.
  • Do not trust anyone who visits your house in order to carry out an unrequested inspection, unless they are from the Police. Utility meters are always situated outside the house in Spain and you should organise inspections of your gas pipes yourself.
  • When getting a receipt from anyone, make sure that it contains a note of their business registration number, or for individuals, their National Identity card or passport number. If possible, you should have a look at the document in question in order to check.
  • Limited companies in Spain have "S.L." or "S.A." after their names - a company which doesn't have these letters may not be registered and may be hard to contact in the event of a problem.
  • In the light of the O'Malley case, it would be a good idea to get a business card from any "Estate Agent" you have an appointment with and leave it in a noticeable place in your hotel room, or with the receptionist at your hotel. If you don't have a business card, then write down any details you do have - for example, the address of the house you are viewing.
  • Spanish mobile phone numbers always begin with a 6. While many people do have legitimate reasons for giving a mobile number in a small ad, it is probably safest to avoid any ads which do not also give a landline number (starting with a 9)
  • Be wary of anyone who asks you how much rent you pay for your house or how much your house is worth within hours of meeting you.
  • Finally, and most importantly, always remember that any deal that looks too good to be true - be it very cheap property or an incredible investment - probably involves fraud. Take extra care.

Having said all that, please don't let fear spoil your holiday or your first days of living in Spain. The vast majority of people you will meet will be honest individuals. Best of luck.

For more information, have a look at the British Foreign Office Report for Spain.


Site last updated July 2017.
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