AUTHORITIES in Fuengirola are warning residents about a fake kidnapping scam circulating through the area.
A WhatsApp message telling people to watch out for kidnappers at the Miramar Shopping Centre has been declared fake by Spain’s National Police.
Detectives have officially confirmed that the post, which has been shared widely on the messaging platform and across Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, is a ‘hoax’.
The message has been shared more than 1000 times on social media and in at least two community watch WhatsApp groups with dozens of members.
It read: “Attention, parents: in the Miramar Shopping Centre – Fuengirola – there have already been two attempts to kidnap children.”
The message was reportedly first sent out by a woman who claimed that two friends of hers raised the alarm after their children were nearly snatched at the shopping centre
She alleged that her friends’ children had been approached by a man in his 60s who allegedly grabbed the young victims by the neck and attempted to drag them away from their parents.
The alleged child abductor then claimed the incident was ‘a joke’.
The author of the message suggested that the parents had reported the supposed kidnapping attempt to the police and claimed the abduction had been carried out under orders from Mafia bosses on the Costa del Sol.
The National Police has dismissed these claims as ‘false’.