BRIT TOURISTS IN TUMMY BUG SCAM
Holidaymakers are targeted in £60m false claims racket
BRIT tourists in Spain are being targeted by law firm touts urging them to make false food poisoning claims.
Hoteliers in popular resorts say holidaymakers have been suffering “harassment” from conmen.
The fraudsters convince tourists to make false claims and then take a cut of any payout.
A source told the Daily Star Sunday: “This is almost as big a business as drugs in some places.
“Yes, the authorities are trying to crack down, but there are still hundreds going through every week.
“Hotels don’t want the hassle of legal fees so they pay out more often than not.
“All you need is a picture of a receipt for anti-sickness medication.
“Most people get
£2,000 a claim. The tout skims off the top and so does the law firm.”
Now police are going undercover to catch the fraudsters, who are costing the hotel industry
£60million a year.
The investigation has been backed by UK tour operators.
Freedom of Information documents seen by the Daily Star Sunday show that Jet2, Thomas Cook, Monarch and TUI are looking into hundreds of bogus claims in Mallorca and other islands.
The documents said: “The rise in the number of fraudulent claims is having a serious impact on contracts for next season as hoteliers turn to other markets such as Germany.
“And Spanish police are eager to make some arrests to start setting a clear example.”
UK tour operators and Spanish hotels have been hit with scores of compensation claims in the last few months.
Swindlers are making official complaints about food poisoning. Then, on arrival in the UK they are getting anti-sickness drugs. Under our laws they don’t even need a doctor’s note – a pharmacy receipt is enough to make a claim.
Millions have already been paid out to holidaymakers – leading to chefs in the resorts being unjustly sacked.
Last week Brit mum Laura Joyce, 37, inset, was arrested in Mallorca on suspicion of running a £9million holiday sickness scam.
She is accused of using middlemen to encourage holidaymakers to fake illnessness to claim compensation.
Jet2 has now hired private detectives to nail the cowboy companies touting for business.
It has already caught one couple touting for business in Benidorm.
The operator said: “We have seen a sharp rise in claims made for gastric illness, with no corresponding increase in the levels of reported illness amongst holidaymakers.
“This has coincided with an increase in the activities of touts and claims management companies, both in resorts and in the UK, who are advising customers that merely by taking a holiday on an all-inclusive basis, they can claim illness and receive compensation. The activity is not isolated.
“This is why we are campaigning to raise awareness of the issue among our customers so that they are not fooled by these fraudsters.
“Those who get lured into this sickness scam could find the destination that their holiday leads to is prison.”
Jet2 added: “We are investing heavily in measures to protect customers and stop cowboy management companies coercing holidaymakers into making fraudulent claims.”
■ GRUB UP: Brits are being urged to say they have food poisoning