Fraud involves any kind of deception or scam, for example the use of false documents, to manipulate the victim into doing something that harms them, such as sending money to the fraudster. The methods used by fraudsters are so varied that the Law doesn’t provide a definitive list; instead, it is up to the interpretation of the judge.
What is generally considered fraud?
- The deception must lead directly to a loss for the victim; for example, the victim sent money as a direct result of the scam
- The deception must be sufficiently elaborate – i.e. the scam must seem real enough to have caused the victim to be deceived
- The victim must fall into the trap – if you realise it’s a scam before sending money, it won’t be considered fraud
- The most common types of fraud in Spain are phishing (sending fraudulent emails which appear to be from legitimate businesses in order to steal personal details such as bank details and passwords), rental listing fraud (advertisement of fake properties), fraud via dating sites/apps, the creation of fake websites
What steps should I take if I have been a victim of fraud?
- Identify the fraudster and how they scammed you. If you have been scammed online, change your passwords and contact your bank if money has been taken from your credit card.
- Contact them; they may wish to return what they have taken in order to avoid legal action.
- Collect proof of the fraud e.g. screenshots, emails.
- Try to quantify the fraud (how much money you were asked to send). The punishment for fraud depends on the amount of money you were tricked into sending. Part of the proof may be bank transfers.
- Contact our specialist lawyers. We will analyse your case and advise you on the proof you need and the steps you should take to file a complaint against the fraudster and get your money back.
What are the consequences for the fraudster?
How the fraud will be punished depends on the value of the goods/money taken in the scam. If the scam does not exceed 400€ and it is just one scam, it is a minor crime and is punished with a fine.
If you have been scammed by a business, they will be fined and prevented from receiving subsidies and from providing services related to the scam. In more serious cases, the company’s management will be taken over by a person appointed by the court, or the company will be dissolved.
If the fraudster is a private individual, the punishment will depend on the amount of money/goods taken, the number of people involved in the scam, the damage caused to the victim, the type of goods being taken, whether public documents have been falsified, whether someone’s signature has been falsified, and whether the individual is a reoffender.
To find out how to protect yourself from fraud, and what steps to take in relation to your specific case, contact our specialist lawyers.
DISCLAIMER: The information in this article is not definitive. For up-to-date information which is relevant to your case, please contact our lawyers.