Phishing is a growing crime in the Balearics. | Javier Coll

The National Police's economic and technological crimes division has in recent months processed more than 200 complaints of supposed scams related to holiday rentals in the Balearics.

Its inspector of technological crimes, Jorge Miguel Rodríguez, says that there has been a notable increase in these cases, with cyber criminals phishing leading websites and soliciting payments via bank transfers abroad, such as to Western Union. The scammers take the money and tourists are left without accommodation and their cash. This most obviously happens during the summer season but it can occur all year round.

Phishing is a means of obtaining information, such as credit-card details, by criminals passing themselves off as legitimate. Rodríguez notes the existence of such scammers in the case of the hundreds of complaints related to a La Caixa email simulation, the objective of which was to steal data. He advises not opening emails, not responding and not following links or downloading attachments.

Another issue of concern is "sextorsion". There were over 300 complaints in the Balearics last year for what the inspector describes as a form of sexual exploitation. "A person is blackmailed with a naked or sexual act image that was previously shared through sexting. The victims, mostly men, accept friend requests from attractive women on Facebook, Twitter and other social networks. After forming a relationship, they have cybersex, and then they are blackmailed. We must try and avoid people falling for these scams and the extortion. If there are any concerns, call 091."