As rates of tourism increase in the Riviera Maya, tourists must remain vigilant to avoid scams online.
According to local government, internet scammers become more active in the months leading up to high tourism.
According to Quintana Roo Undersecretary of Tourism Omar Govea, seasons with high tourism see increased fraudulent internet pages offering reasonably priced packages.
In the first four months of 2023, the government of Quintana Roo has registered over 120 cases of tourist fraud. This constitutes a decrease of 30% in comparison to previous years.
Undersecretary Govea said the most important thing is to inform the population to keep them from falling for these traps.
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Quintana Roo has created the web page, “Verifique y Viaja,” or “Verify and Travel,” to alert travelers about scams.
This page verifies real tourism-related businesses in Quintana Roo and exposes fraudulent ones.
Meanwhile, Quintana Roo continues working with Mexican Cyber Police and the State Attorney General to catch online criminals.
Undersecretary Govea says joint efforts with the Attorney General have succeeded, and investigations are ongoing.
Internet scams are no new concern for local government, the tourist industry, and travelers in Quintana Roo.
How To Avoid Scams
Undersecretary Govea said that the most important thing for tourists is to educate themselves to avoid scams.
Authorities in Cancun issued a travel warning about tourist fraud in December 2022 before the busy period of tourism in the spring.
The warning asked that residents and visitors remain skeptical when they come across deals on the internet that seem too good to be true.
If a deal on the internet seems better than all the other deals you’ve seen, there is a good chance it is a scam. Informed tourists remain skeptical when they see deals significantly below market prices.
Authorities recommend that all travelers double-check websites before booking travel.
A spokesperson for the Mexican Travel Agency Association said that every day in Mexico 450 cases of potential fraud are detected. The problem is particularly bad in the Mexican Caribbean.
Online fraud cases increased dramatically since the COVID-19 pandemic when many travel agencies transitioned to online booking.
According to the Mexican Travel Agency Association, online fraud has increased by 50% since the pandemic.
Most cases of online fraud happen on social media platforms. While online fraud can occur on legitimate-looking websites, you are far more likely to fall victim if booking through Instagram or Facebook.
Additionally, travelers who are suspicious about the travel agency they are using can check to make sure that their travel agency has signed up for the national travel agency registry.
Tourists encountering suspected fraud are encouraged to report it to Quintana Roo’s guest assist service. Using this service, tourists can anonymously report incidences of fraud.
Tourists can protect themselves from internet scams by being aware of scammers and their techniques.
Recent Actions Against Internet Scams
One new solution to the problem comes from the tourist industry in Mexico.
Recently, travel agencies in Mexico announced new packages for vacations in Cancun and the Riviera Maya to combat fraud in the tourist industry.
To decrease the opportunities for scammers to take advantage of tourists, agencies consolidated various parts of booking, including flights, accommodations, and activities. The initiative was a partnership with over 1,400 travel agencies from the United States, Canada, and Europe.
Scams in the Riviera Maya take different forms. At their worst, they take money from unsuspecting tourists without intending to follow through with their products. However, some companies complete the tours they advertise at inflated rates.
The new initiative takes the pressure off tourists who wish to travel without worrying about being charged fair rates.
Ordering tours along with hotels and flights leaves tourists vulnerable to scams less often. This protects them from being scammed and overcharged.
Tourists only deal with their trusted travel agencies who can verify the deals in packages using their experts. Additionally, since travel agencies have connections to tourist destinations, they can often negotiate better deals for tourists.
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