Spanish unemployment
Spanish unemployment is high as the country battles economic crisis, which is fuelling petty fraud (REUTERS/Albert Gea) REUTERS

An increase in fraudulent insurance claims has followed a rise in reported robberies in Spain, insurance investigators have claimed as the country grapples with soaring unemployment.

"What we have noticed because of the crisis is domestic, amateur fraud," Javier Fernandez, spokesman for a federation of Spanish insurance companies, told Associated Press.

"People who are not criminals attempt fraud that is small in monetary terms but stupid."

It is not just dodgy insurance claims that people are resorting to for a financial boost.

Fake IDs, forged bus passes, ransom demands from fake kidnappings - all have been tried by people trying to muddle through the economic crisis, which has seen the number of jobless hitting 23 percent.

In Madrid's Usera district, locals are reporting stolen wallets containing hundreds of euros but the claims are often met by scepticism by police and confessions of fraudulent claims are relatively easy to get.

"These days there are not many people walking around Usera with €400 on them," a police spokesman said.

Many would-be fraudsters break down and admit to inventing their claim when confronted with the threat of prosecution.

Spanish sociologist Alberto Moncada said that the concept of forgiveness at the heart of Spain's Catholic culture meant that people felt that eventual repentance justified wrongdoing.

"We have the feeling that God is going to forgive us for everything we do," he said.