Spanish Authorities are beginning to wake up to the huge problems of foreigners parting with cash for a piece of land in the sun only to find themselves unwitting victims of an unscrupulous vendor.

Foreign buyers often don’t check the proper legal status of what they are actually purchasing and are easy prey for fraudsters whose crimes range from selling small pieces of land with the full knowledge that it cannot be built on to more cynical operators who take money in exchange for what doesn’t even belong to them in the first place.

The problem has become so acute the Fraud Department of the National Police have issued the following guidelines:-

1) Check with the local Town Hall first. All the documents relating to a piece of land should be there including whether you can build on it or not.

2) Find a good solicitor. Even solicitors can be inefficient and/or unscrupulous. Ask for proof of transactions in these type of property dealings. What experience they have – can they speak English.

3) Avoid handing over cash. Using a bank means that there will be a record of any money transfers

4) Make sure all documents are originals and follow up the contact details of the person you are dealing with.

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