Did you know that Mexico is a favorite for scammers who want to take advantage of the hundreds and thousands of tourists that visit its country each year? Well known as a top vacation destination for decades due to amazing climate and interesting culture, unfortunately Mexico is also a favorite for fraudsters. With so many tourists coming into the country each day, these scammers find easy prey in an unsuspecting tourist. Make sure you know how to protect yourself so you can avoid becoming scammed yourself when vacationing in Mexico.
One of the top vacation scams occurs to visitors as soon as they arrive into the airport in Mexico. Once you get your luggage and clear customs and immigration, you will find an overwhelming amount of sales people wanting on you as you round the corner. If you paid ahead of time for a airport transfer to your hotel or resort, it is essential you do not go with the wrong company. Some vacation scams happen this way – innocent tourists are grabbed by a fake company who tells you they have been waiting for you. You assume this is the company you pre-booked with and get into their vehicle. However, once you arrive at your hotel or other destination, you will then be charged on the spot and realize this is not the company you thought it was. Always ask for ID and make sure that whoever approaches you has your name on their list. Simple way to avoid falling victim to this highly popular vacation scam in Mexico.
Vacation Rental Scams
A vacation scam that is becoming increasingly common in Mexico are rental scams. These scams are targeted against unsuspecting homeowners and vacationers searching for accommodation in Mexico. This vacation rental scam works in two different ways. If you own property, you could be scammed by a fraudulent individual or company who claims they can help rent out your property. If you are renter looking for accommodation, you could be scammed if a scammer offers you a property that does not exist or one they do not legally own or operate. It is wise to only use reputable vacation rental agencies, and make sure to check references or reviews on any rental agents that approach you. Never sign anything or leave a deposit until you do your research!
In the past, timeshare scams in Mexico were very common. Today, you rarely see this type of vacation scam as the Mexican government has done a great job cracking down on fraudulent companies offering fake timeshares. These days, buying timeshares in Mexico is a safe and smart investment opportunity for both foreigners and nationals who want to own a piece of beautiful Mexico. Timeshare scams that happen these days come in the form of fake timeshare cancellation companies that claim to offer services they cannot legally perform. They may claim to be able to help you cancel or resell an old timeshare, or even say they have a buyer ready for your timeshare. Most times these claims are false and they scam you by asking for an upfront fee in order to start the process. Make sure you avoid timeshare cancellation and reasale companies at all costs – it is almost certain they are trying to scam you!
Credit Card & ATM Fraud
Another common vacation scam can occur if you use your credit card to book your vacation online to Mexico through an insecure website. Only book through accredited and reputable travel websites to avoid this type of vacation scam. Also, be careful when using your credit card at restaurants. Most establishments now have wireless terminals to charge credit card payments right at your table, so keep your card with you and ask if they can bring the terminal to you. It is also safer to use a credit card instead of a debit card for any transactions you have while on vacation. If you do need to use your debit card at an ATM, make sure to only use ATM’s at banks or other reputable locations. There have been reports of ATM’s in seedy locales that have been tampered with so that your card information is stolen if you try to use the machine. Plan ahead to make sure you don’t fall victim to this vacation scam!
Have you had any experience with vacation scams when vacationing in Mexico? Stay safe so you can enjoy the relaxing vacation you deserve!