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Theft, Vandalism and Scams in Accommodation Units

Recommendations and strange behaviors

Accompanying the significant growth in the number of local accommodation units in recent years, the number of complaints and reports to the Portuguese authorities regarding acts of vandalism, theft (assault) and violence towards this type of accommodation has also grown.

Thus, it is convenient that the owners and their employees pay attention to:

- Be aware of what goes on in the apartments (as they are before they are occupied, namely, cleaning, tidiness, furniture condition and exposed articles)

- If you notice something strange in the messages that precede the reservation, you must inform the authorities.

- One-night reservations. There are reports of reservations by a guest with false identity for one night, after which several people stayed and the accommodation was vandalized or the equipment was stolen.

 During check-in, be aware of:

- Strange behaviour at check-in.

- Appearing a different check-in person than the person who booked is a sign that something may not be right; be especially attentive to groups.

- The Guest makes a reservation (and pays for a stay) for 3 people but at check-in only 1 person appears, and explains that he only gives his identification data, since he is still not sure if the other guests can come. And that, if they come, later you will send your documentation.

- Always request official documentation from all foreign guests (passport in the case of non-European citizens; Passport or National Identification in the case of European citizens).

- Whenever possible, communicate the arrival of guests to SEF on the same day of arrival.

- Do not host people who refuse to show their identification document.

- Inform the authorities if guest refuses to show identification.

- Do not accept offers such as packages and envelopes from guests you do not know.

- Do not accept to keep luggage in your care.

- Do not accept that guests receive correspondence at your address.

- Inform the authority if you arrive at an apartment after the end of the reservation and notice that the apartment was not used for sleeping.

- Inform the authorities when you find abandoned luggage or guests with strange behaviour.

- If you suspect something is not right, and don't take any chances, ask for a deposit, refuse or call the authorities.

- Many tourists, as a distraction, do not lock their doors or close the windows of their apartments. It is necessary to sensitize and advise guests to take basic actions such as closing doors and windows tightly, especially if they are on the ground floor and on the first floor, as well as accommodation will provide a safe for guests to store your belongings.

- Avoid cash payments and payment requests at check-in when booking the hotel. Choose to receive payments through electronic platforms, or other electronic means in advance and at the time of booking.

Certainly, most situations will have no reason to be, but It brings to mind the old Portuguese proverb, “prevention is better than cure”.

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