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Half Of All Tourism Fraud In Mexico Happens In & Around Cancun – Here’s How To Avoid It

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450,000 instances of tourist fraud took place in Mexico in 2022, half of which happened in Quintana Roo. 

Nevertheless, the Mexican Secretariat of Tourism and the Association of Travel Agencies are attempting to protect Mexican companies and international visitors. 

People in cancun at night

This week, they will begin an information campaign on how to avoid tourism fraud. 

“Our main objective is to inform the consumer about the situation with ‘grandiose’ names, such as cyber fraud,” said Felipe Cervantes Vega, president of the Mexican Association of Travel Agencies (AMAV). 

“We want to be on the side of consumers to inform them what is serious and what is not so that the effort of a whole year does not disappear.”

tourist robbed

In April, nearly four thousand Mexico Tourism Bureau-affiliated travel agencies created a strategy to reduce fraud against tourism by fake companies. 

“We want to close the gap in frauds, particularly in online purchases and for those that realize the company does not exist upon arrival, which affects vacations, as well as the destination’s image,” said José Moreno, president of the Mexico Tourism Bureau. 

With tourism fraud rising across the Mexican Caribbean, let’s look at ways to avoid falling for a scam

Don’t Book Through Social Media

Social media websites are one of the top places for scam artists to trick unsuspecting tourists. 

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A busy shopping street in the Mexican Caribbean

Facebook and Instagram feeds may have ads or posts promising beautiful getaways at great prices, but these websites are not well-regulated and host many scams. 

If you want to book a vacation through social media, check the company and verify it is confirmed before booking. 

Airbnb is a more reliable option for booking accommodation, but it can also be risky at times. 

While most travelers have no trouble with Airbnb, the site does not have the same guarantees as traditional hotels, and therefore tourists can be the victims of last-minute cancellations if they are unlucky. 

Don’t Book Deals That Are “Too Good To Be True”

A good rule of thumb while booking in the Riviera Maya is that if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. 

tourist scammer

Many scams promise well below market prices for tours and luxury services. 

While this might excite tourists who think they are getting a great deal, chances are they are falling for a trap. 

If you find a deal below market price, it is extra vital to double-check the source of the booking and make sure that the company is verifiable and trustworthy. 

Book Through An Established Travel Agency

An easy solution for tourists who want to ensure they are not being scammed is to book through an established travel agency. 

Tourist using iPad to book an online vacation

Booking through a travel agency allows experts familiar with the region to book your travel. 

Travel agents’ special knowledge about the Riviera Maya makes them far less likely to get scammed. 

Check The Reviews

One of the easiest ways to ensure you are not falling for a scam is to google search the company you are booking with. 

Secrets Akumal pool
Image courtesy of: Secrets Akumal

Reading the reviews on Google or another website will allow you to see what other people have said about the company. 

If the company is not real, chances are you are not the first to fall for it, so let other travelers’ experiences inform your travel planning.

Even when checking reviews, tourists must remain vigilant. In some cases, scammers will even leave fake reviews for their services.

Nevertheless, there are several ways to be sure that even fake reviews do not trick you. 

If the website has an appropriate number of positive reviews, it is probably okay to book with it.  

upset tourist

Also, by reading the lowest ratings given to a company, you can read what the least happy customers have to say. 

If nobody is accusing the company of fraud, chances are the company is legitimate. 

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