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The Morairaway Scam

Holiday Rental Fraud comes to Costa Blanca

Rental fraud is on the increase and the latest scam has affected many Costa Blanca visitors.
This one involves a number of holidaymakers who booked holiday rentals in Moraira and Javea through www.morairaway.com which advertised in several direct-from-owner advertising websites.
A recent article in the TimesonLine Website explains that this rental fraud has already topped £500,000 and may eventually total several millions.
The British police are in touch with the holiday rental websites and contacting all who enquired with MorairaWay.com in order to discover how many actually booked and paid money.
One holidaymaker took the trouble to fly out to Javea and found that the villa he rented does not even exist.
Meanwhile the BBC Website reported that there have been arrests and the British police are investigating a number of other holiday websites suspected of the same fraud.
Read the full article: Holiday fraud suspects arrested . . .

This type of fraud, which is so easy to carry out, will probably become more common now that it is not so easy to earn profits by legitimate means, due to the worldwide recession.
Quite possibly the scams uncovered so far are just the tip of the iceberg.

Why is it so easy for the fraudsters?

Looking at www.morairaway.com, which is hosted on the GoDaddy Internet Server in the USA.
The Internet Community normally does have a remedy for identifying all website owners and these are available, via the "Whois" service on the domain name registries.
However, in the case of www.morairaway.com it is not so simple. The owner, technical representative and billing entity is http://domainsbyproxy.com/
This is a website which makes it possible to secretly register a domain name and circumvent the laws regarding domain name registration. They say on their homepage -

Getting a Private Registration will:
Stop domain-related spam
Prevent harassers & stalkers
End data mining
Protect your family's privacy
And more!
[Interesting!]

Later, at the bottom of the homepage they state -

If you are in law enforcement, click here
For our subpoena policies, click here

You can click the links above or just try to guess what comes next and actually it is worse than you would imagine.
They say that they will help law-enforcement officers all they can and, if they have a valid civil subpoena (court order), they will respond - but their fees are $75.00 per hours and $0.25 per document page provided.
Actually attending upon law enforcement officers (with or without subpoenas) is probably the least profitable service offered by domainsbyproxy.com because there is hardly any point in bothering.
Anyone who took the trouble to hide their website registration in this way would have certainly covered the rest of their tracks and won't be found.

So they are all set up with a domain name and all they need is a website with a few villas and photos they have copied from elsewhere and they are all ready to start taking money - as simple as that!
Best of all, they don't have to worry about the little quirks and inconveniences that even the very best villas have as it is simply a question of inventing the whole portfolio and using the most attractive photos they can find.
Double bookings are not a problem as they can book each week as many times as they like and of course at the most attractive prices.

The "Morairway Scam" is not even just confined to Britain. Press reports indicate that holidaymakers have been ripped off in most European countries. And it is not even a case of a company having a liquidity problem but a premeditated fraud.
None of the villas actually exist or ever did and morairaway.com was not registered until September 2008.
Many of the holidaymakers who lost there money have already contacted the police in their home country or Spain but nothing can be done now.
It seems that Morairaway (and all who sailed in her) have vanished without trace.

 

Moraira-Info Article: How to avoid holiday rental fraud.

 
Links to other articles about Spanish real estate and renting.

1. Spanish Real Estate - A Crash or some Adjustments?

2. Spanish Real Estate - The Future.

3. Spanish Real Estate Survey - The Most Popular Areas could be the Best Investment.

4. UK Tax Amnesty for Owners of Holiday Homes

5. Tourist Rental Income 2007 - What's gone wrong? Overview of the situation.

6. What will happen next? Spanish tourist renting during the next 10 years.

7. How the Spanish authorities could react to the tourism crisis.

8. Making the best of it - advice for Spanish property owners who rent!

9. Property Values and Tourist Rental Income - Written in 2004. A very long article which foresees the present economic depression.

10. Spanish Young Persons Rental Subsidies.

05 July 2009 İMike King 2009

Author's Bio: Mike King has lived and worked in Moraira sin 1971. Since 1990 he has run Villa Holiday Services - a Moraira Rental Agency with the reference: EE-0011-A
Villa Holiday Services is registered as a rental agency with the Delegation for Tourism of the Sate of Valencia. Mike is a member of the Alicante Association of Professional Rental Agencies (AEA).
The VHS website is VillaServers