Four Arrested In Solar Panel Scam

Four people have been arrested in Extremadura by the Spanish Civil Guard  following an investigation into scams related to the online sale of solar panels in Madrid and 16 other provinces across Spain.

According to Spanish media reports the alleged perpetrators were able to obtain €24,000 from their victims before being stopped by the police in an operation named Herrecol-Solar, which began last June in Badajoz when cybercrime officers became aware of scams in the Extremaduran city.

The investigation found a criminal group residing in four different municipalities in Extremadura involved in advertising cheap solar panels on well-known internet buying and selling sites.

These low prices attracted the attention of potential buyers, and the scammers gave them “a false sense of reliability and trust” before they were asked to make a payment through Bizum or other online bank transfer apps.

Once the payment was made, the victims did not receive the solar PV panels.

The 17 provinces where the alleged scams were carried out were: Badajoz, Cáceres, Huelva, Ciudad Real, Huesca, Córdoba, Cádiz, Zaragoza, Valencia, Granada, Pontevedra, Madrid, Almería, Las Palmas, Málaga, Jaén and Murcia.

How to avoid solar panel scams

Micheál Ó Maoileóin, who works for an energy efficiency website focusing on solar panels, outlined a number of steps people should take when considering installing solar panels to avoid being scammed.

“People should be aware that these scams exist on popular online marketplaces, where products can be bought and sold for any price,” he said.

“When it comes to solar panels, most people will opt to have a solar installation company source and install the panels, which is what we would recommend in the first place.”

“If you are going to buy the PV panels online instead of hiring local installers, then our advice would be to use trusted and well-known websites, such as the official websites of the solar panel manufacturers.”

“Marketplaces like Amazon are also usually fairly safe when it comes to buying things online, as sellers can be vetted and verified with reviews, but we would still advise caution when carrying out any transaction online.”

“Solar panels are a fantastic way of saving money on monthly electricity bills, especially here in Spain, but if you are considering buying solar panels online, remember the old rule: ‘if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is’.”


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