The rising number of online scams in the Mexican Caribbean is a major source of concern to both officials and travelers. With more tourists falling victim to such fraud, authorities have released new guidelines aimed at protecting consumers from online crimes.
New statistics published this week reveal the worrying extent of the phenomenon, as criminals take to the digital domain to target wealthy travelers.
With that in mind, here’s the latest on the alarming number of online travel scams plaguing the Mexican Caribbean hospitality industry.
Mexican Caribbean Government Ramps Up Efforts To Deter Online Crime
The past few years have seen a steady rise in the number of travelers booking everything from accommodation to excursions online. And while online bookings make travel easier and more convenient, they also come with some noticeable risks.
Scams, including fake postings, phishing, and identity theft are just a few types of online crimes that have become increasingly prevalent. And despite more government resources to tackle online crimes, scammers are seemingly one step ahead, resorting to creative means to target wealthy travelers.
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According to Quintana Roo’s cybersecurity agency, the past summer saw a worrying rise in the number of reported cases of online fraud, especially through websites selling fake all-inclusive vacation packages.
With that worrying backdrop in mind, officials recently published new statistics on the rising number of online scams being reported across the Mexican Caribbean.
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In August alone, consumers filed some 385 cases of online fraud through the Secretary for Citizen Security (SSC).
According to cybersecurity experts, the alarming uptick in online crimes can be attributed to the record-breaking summer season, which generated an intense amount of social media coverage, which scammers used to target travelers.
These Are The Most Common Scams Being Reported This Year
According to the latest statistics, identity theft was the most common form of online fraud this summer, with 83 reported cases.
Criminals can easily acquire travelers’ personal details, including name, date of birth, and even copies of passports or personal identification cards.
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For instance, scammers are known to create fake online check-in platforms, which look similar to legitimate websites, where victims are asked for a number of personal details.
To avoid falling victim to such crimes, travelers should make sure only to open official links pertaining to their accommodation. Travelers can also report any suspicious activity to local authorities through Quintana Roo’s Guest Assist application.
Meanwhile, the latest figures also point to a rise in the number of fake online vacation packages, with 10 cases being officially reported in August alone. This type of scam consists of offering travelers unbelievably great deals for luxurious accommodations and private tours that don’t actually exist.
Travelers are then prompted to insert their credit card details or to wire money to a Mexican (or international) bank account. To avoid these scams, visitors are urged to book through official websites, such as Tripadvisor or Viator, where they can read past reviews and ensure that they are booking from a legitimate company.
Online vacation rentals are also seeing a boom in popularity, with over 30,000 Airbnbs officially registered in the Mexican Caribbean state of Quintana Roo alone. And while generally offering lower rates than all-inclusive resorts, online rentals aren’t as secure.
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Travelers should avoid booking online rentals through social media platforms like Facebook or Instagram. Instead, use Airbnb’s official website, and opt for certified properties that have received a generous amount of four and five-star reviews.
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