September 19, 2014 Last Updated 8:43 am

Police in Spain break-up phony magazine scam

Publishers sold low-cost ad space to businesses, but failed to produce magazines for anyone other than the advertisers

The English edition of the Spanish newspaper El País reported that National Police have raided a printing facility in Elche in Alicante province, arresting 52 people involved in a magazine scam.

Police report that a publisher was selling advertising to businesses for between €150 and €400 per ad, but then only printing up enough magazines to send to the advertisers. The magazine company maintained a large telephone room with more than 100 lines, used to call potential advertisers.

“In order to secure clients on a massive scale. they used telemarketing techniques that were illicit, authoritarian and even coercive,” the police said.

El País said that complaints began to come in starting in 2006, and in 2010 a television station aired a report using hidden cameras to expose the ring (which makes you wonder why it took four years to finally break it up).

The publishing technique is not unique to Spain. One company, which still operates in the U.S and U.K., has been using the technique for years, and was even featured on the cover of Folio: magazine. A major media investment firm invested in the company, despite its business model, before finally divesting a few years later.

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