As safe as online shopping has gotten over the past few years there’s still that outside chance of getting burned when shopping online. Fake travel packages to Cancun are one of those commodities that you could get scammed on. The vacation club association of Quintana Roo, (Acluvaq), reported a significant drop in the amount of calls that they get a day about potential fraud causes. They attribute that to the efforts that they’ve put into spotting fraudulent sites. Which include setting up a webpage that they say lists all of the sites that are known for defrauding tourists. Sunrise Travel, and Vacation for Life or Live are just two of the names on the naughty list.
Miriam Cortes Franco, president of Acluvaq, mentioned that they’ve worked together with local authorities to try and shut down these fraudulent travel agencies. A process that she says has been extremely difficult. Naturally, since most of the fraudulent operations are conducted online or by phone the scammers just flat out disappear.
Still the effort that’s being put into this cause seems to be having a positive effect. The organization says they would get on average 4 calls a day from people who claimed to have been victims of fraud. That number has dropped to 2 calls a week. Franco detailed the efforts that have been made saying,
We have coordinated efforts with the state attorney general’s office, and Profeco to stop and dismantle cyber fraud operations. It hasn’t been easy because most of the operations run online or through phone lines. They can disappear without a trace
Are The Tools Offered To Avoid Fraud Effective?
The organization has essentially set up a Facebook page where they share certain information to try to help tourists avoid fraud. Part of the information that they share includes a list of fraudulent phone numbers that you should avoid taking calls from. Since they have been known to scam people into buying fake travel packages. Other than that, the Facebook page offers some tips and tricks to try and help travelers avoid getting scammed.
Most of the tips revolve around taking time to verify the information that you’ve found at a particular page. For example, if you’re being offered a particular flight check with the airline to see if they actually run that route at the particular day and hour that it’s being offered to you. Other tips on the page include letting tourists know that when a price tag seems too good to be true it usually is. Virtually all of the information on the page is exclusively in Spanish. That’s certainly an Achilles heel of the project.
Getting Your Money Back If You Fall For One Of These Scams
If you’ve been scammed by a fake travel agency Miriam Cortes states clearly that getting your money back is hard. In fact, you’re better off trying to see if your bank can help you out. Local authorities are not going to be much help once you’ve been scammed. At least not to get your money back. That’s why, though, many of the tips that Acluvaq puts out online revolve around payment methods. Paying cash is essentially the worst thing that you can do. Even if you’re making a deposit to a local account. Checking to see if the webpage or travel agency offers safe payment methods may be the best place to start.
According to data gathered by the organization most of these fake travel packages are sold to tourists who are looking to travel to Cancun, Playa del Carmen, and Isla Mujeres. Many of these fake webpages or social media profiles aren’t even made directly by people in the Cancun area. That’s why tracking them down has been a tough job for local authorities.
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