Travelers to Cancun are being urged to stay vigilant when booking anything online in the destination; this includes resorts, airport transfers, tours, and excursions.
Cybercrime, including fraudulent tourism service providers, is an issue worth attention in Cancun, and with the summer season getting into full swing in record numbers, the local authorities are determined to ensure this particular issue is put in check.
What’s Being Done
The State Secretariat of Tourism (SECTUR), state cyber police, as well as the Quintana Roo state prosecutor’s office make up the 3 main authorities that have singled out this type of fraud and scam operators for extra attention.
Recently a new initiative was put in place called the State Tourism Registry. This is a regulated register that all businesses involved in tourism are required to sign up to.
However, the enforcement has been gradual to allow businesses time to meet the requirements.
So far, over 1,300 tourism service providers are registered. This confirms each business involved in tourism has a physical address in Mexico and are registered legal entities.
This whole initiative is designed to ensure rogue actors attempting to defraud travelers cannot operate openly in Cancun, providing a bureaucratic paper trail for each provider to ensure the authorities can clamp down on any that take advantage of travelers.
How Big Is The Issue?
As a tourism destination, Cancun has its fair share of issues regarding cybercrime directed at tourists. In fact, in numbers, the destination recorded half of all of Mexico’s tourism scams in 2022.
One of the most common tourism scams in Cancun is linked to tours and excursions. Naturally, travelers enjoy the convenience of booking these highly sought-after experiences online.
But, many times after booking one of these once-in-a-lifetime trips, travelers receive the ultimate shock in finding out the company they booked with doesn’t in fact exist, and that they have fallen prey to a shockingly common scam.
A huge number of these scams are carried out through social media platforms through accounts that moonlight as the genuine online presence of actual reputable tour providers.
Although that isn’t always the case, there are also instances of travelers booking through extremely professional and genuine-looking websites, only to later find out they were defrauded out of their hard-earned dollars.
How To Protect Yourself
There are a few simple actions travelers can take to help avoid these vacation-dampening scams:
If It Looks Too Cheap, It Probably Is
First of all, beware of any offer that seems too good to be true. When a trip catches the eye, compare multiple tour providers to get a feel for how much it should cost, and if one undercuts the others by a significant amount, treat that like a red flag (no matter how much you love a bargain).
Beware Of Social Media
Next, social media is a great place to find out about lesser-known trips and excursions, but as stated before, this is one of the most common places that scam providers operate.
Never book direct through social media, instead research which businesses provide the tour that catches your eye and vet them well through reviews on Google or TripAdvisor.
Pay By Credit Card Where Possible
One of the best ways travelers can protect themselves from online fraud and scams in Cancun is by paying with a credit card.
It’s important to use a payment method that has fraud protection built-in, it isn’t always easy to spot a bad player, and the ability to contest a payment with your credit card provider if the worst does happen is a great last line of defense to protect your money.
Reviews Are Your Friend
These days it’s super easy to get an idea of a business’s service level or reputation through online reviews.
Always take full advantage of this facility; it is priceless when it comes to ensuring you only have a positive and unforgettable vacation in Cancun.
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