Tourists Fooled by Croatian Scammers Offering Someone Else's Accommodation

July the 27th, 2021 - Croatian scammers have fooled at least fifteen German families in a new form of cyber-fraud in which other people's private accommodation units are being offered. The situation occurred in Istria.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, as yet unknown Croatian scammers have caused financial (and indeed psychological) damage to at least fifteen German families by falsely offering them a holiday home rental in Istria. On a German website, they published an ad with pictures of the house, introduced themselves as owners and offered the property at an extremely affordable price.

This particular holiday home in Istria was used by these unknown perpetrators for a brazen cyber-scam. The last victim of this particular scam was a tourist from Germany who was suspicious that the house was being rented out as Villa Imamovic, while the pictures read the inscription Casa Delphia. The group of Croatian scammers told her that they had bought the house, but they hadn't replaced the board yet, RTL reported.

"However, the woman in question was suspicious and saw that the price was too low so she started researching and found out that the house was being falsely rented out, that the gentleman she'd spoken to wasn't the owner," said co-owner of the rental house, Ljerka Lisica.

German Edmond Rama wanted to gift his parents a holiday, so he bought them two-week accommodation and plane tickets to Croatia, but when he called the number from the ad again, there was no answer.

“I wanted to see pictures of the house to show them to my parents. I tried to contact them via Ebay and by phone, but there was no answer,'' said Edmond Rama, a victim of the same fraud and likely the same group of Croatian scammers.

He was damaged for about 850 euros, but the worst situation of all involved a single mother with three children.

"In the end, she said that she was amazed, that she didn't know how to explain to her children that she had no more money, and that they weren't going to be able to go on holiday," said a disgusted Ljerka Lisica.

Although the owners themselves haven't actually been harmed, they say that they greatly sympathise with the deceived would-have-been German tourists.

"It's a disaster for these people, and we're involved in it and we feel obligated to those people even though we haven't actually done anything to anyone, we aren't involved in this nor do we have anything to do with it, but it hurts us because our house is involved in it," explained Boris Lisica, the co-owner of the house at the centre of the scam.

From the information available so far, the name used by the fraudster is known: Samir Fabian Imamovic, the actual German IBAN to which the victims paid money is also known. The police are advising people to use verified websites for the renting out of such property and to read the reviews of previous users when choosing.

"They can also check the landlords through the tourist board, and if they suspect that it may be some form of fraud, they can contact the police," said the spokeswoman of the Istrian Police, Suzana Sokac.

The police are not revealing the stage of the criminal investigation into these Croatian scammers at this moment in time.

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