Fake claims in Spain

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Fake claims in Spain

Holiday sickness fraud is the subject of a criminal investigation in Mallorca, Madrid-based lawyer Marie Rogers explains.

Local police in Mallorca opened a criminal investigation code-named Operation Hook in late 2017.

It targeted the activity of a British national resident in Spain, Laura Cameron, and what is believed to be a family business of approaching British tourists on holiday and collecting their personal data to sell on to law firms in the UK.

Collecting or ‘farming’ data from consumers in Spain is not illegal so long as the consumer is fully informed of the intended use and expressly consents to that usage. So why is there a criminal investigation?

During 2015-17 the Spanish hotel sector witnessed thousands of gastric illness claims and the suspicion is most of these claims were bogus.

What turned a history of ordinary, isolated incidents of gastric illness in Spanish hotels into a potential multimillion-euro fraud?

As Spanish hotels see it, there was one significant development in or about early 2015 which changed gastric-illness claims and that was the role of ‘claims’ farmers’ working on their own or through a legal entity in Spain with the sole task of collecting British holidaymakers’ data.

These claims’ farmers would troll Spanish airports and hotel lobbies, right under the noses of local hotels. They would collect the names and home addresses of thousands of British tourists holidaying in Spain to sell on in bulk to UK lawyers.

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