If you are searching for a place to rent in Spain, you have to be very careful who to trust. There are many people taking advantage of the fact that you may not yet be in Spain when you start searching, that you do not speak the language and are not aware of the local market situation.
We have seen many cases where criminals published stolen pictures to offer flats for rent and get their victims to pay them money without ever having seen the property.
What usually happens is that the scammer tells the victim that they have a great flat available for them for a fantastic price. Sometimes they have publications with stolen pictures on the popular real estate websites or they will just contact you directly to tell you about their too good to be true offer.
If you ask to see the flat, they will tell you excuses, such as that they live outside of the city and cannot enter due to Covid restrictions or that they are far away and cannot travel.
Finally, they will tell you that you have to pay a reservation fee or an advance on the rent and as soon as they receive the money, they will send you the keys, the specific address, etc. Of course, once they receive the money, they disappear.
What can you do?
In order to avoid becoming the victim of such a scam, you should always ask for the complete information of the property and be very suspicious if the person you are dealing with seems reluctant to comply.
Many claim they will do the contract via Airbnb. Airbnb has informed us that they do not do anything outside of their website. If anyone tries to sign an Airbnb contract with you without going through their official website, it is a scam!
DO NOT TRANSFER ANY MONEY TO ANYONE WITHOUT MAKING SURE THE OFFER IS LEGITIMATE!
If you want to make sure, get in touch with a lawyer and have them assess the situation. We can obtain information about the real property owner and the legal situation of the flat. Furthermore, we can assist you finding a legitimate offer and put you in contact with trustworthy real estate agents.