Hoaxers in Greece are telling tourists to evacuate their holiday rentals or pay a $540 fine amid a housing crisis in Athens

  • Tourists in Athens are being told by fraudsters to evacuate their holiday rentals, authorities say.

  • Fake posters are appearing at apartment buildings warning of a bed bug "plague" and $540 fines.

  • Holiday rentals have been a subject of ire for some residents as housing prices soar in the capital.

Greece's Health Ministry warned on Tuesday that fraudsters have been putting up fake posters at holiday rental apartments telling tourists to evacuate due to an apparent bed bug "plague."

The notices have been appearing at properties in Exarchia, a neighborhood in Athens, and are "completely false," the ministry said in a statement.

The ministry has called on the police to assist in dealing with the hoaxers, and said "no one is allowed to terrorize and misinform citizens."

One such poster featured logos for the health ministry and the Athens municipal government, saying in broken English that as of December 4, "law inforcement" had ordered homeowners to stop renting out "appartments."

"Violation will cause a fine up to 500 Euro for homeowners and guests likewise," it read, according to a photo of the notice posted online.

The poster claimed the area was hit by a "plague" of bed bugs.

Several bed bug infestations have been reported in Athens in October, but it's unclear if Exarchia has experienced such a crisis this month.

It's not known who put up the posters, but holiday rental apartments have been a subject of frustration for residents in the city as housing prices surge.

Per-square-meter prices in Athens jumped 12.2% in October, at some of the highest rates in Europe, Bloomberg reported.

The number of short-term rentals has skyrocketed in the country over the last six years, more than doubling from 57,000 in 2016 to 129,000 in late 2022, per the Hellenic Chamber of Hotels.

Many in the country have blamed the rising prices and growing housing crisis on Greece's new wave of holiday rentals, as well as its Golden Visa program for wealthy foreign investors.

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