Skip to Content

Tourists Should Watch Out For This New Scam In The Mexican Caribbean 

Share The Article

Last Updated

One of the things that tourists need to watch out for when visiting any vacation destination, including those in the Mexican Caribbean, are scams.   

They come in all shapes and sizes and are designed to trick tourists in some way that will benefit the scam artists.   

And there is one new scam, specifically, that tourists should watch out for in the Mexican Caribbean, and it involves the exchange of fake currency. 

Pesos in Mexico

An Issue With Counterfeit Pesos 

Everybody has heard horror stories about counterfeit money, and nobody wants to be the victim of someone passing on counterfeit bills or be the one to end up using them.   

And now this is something to watch out for in the Mexican Caribbean because counterfeit pesos have been discovered.   

The fake bills have been found in multiple places, so whether you’re visiting Cancun, Tulum, or somewhere in between, you’ll want to be on the lookout for these counterfeit pesos.   

@curatedcountdowns Reply to @ultraburneracc hope this helps! Currency in Cancun #pesos #mexicovacation #mexicohoneymoon #mexicogetaway ♬ original sound – Concierge Travel Specialist

How The Scam Was Discovered 

The counterfeit pesos making their way through the Mexican Caribbean were first brought to attention after the arrest of a group of women carrying fake bills.   

There were five of them that were found while traveling between the Mexican Caribbean state of Quintana Roo and the state of Tabasco.   

They were arrested after authorities found over 75,000 counterfeit pesos on them. 

Top 5 Travel Insurance Plans For 2023 Starting At $10 Per Week

Easily Earn Points For Free Travel

@uptin #currencyexchange #mexicanpeso #money ♬ Island In The Sun – Weezer

Recent Counterfeit Incidents  

The arrest of the five women is not the only recent incident involving counterfeit money that has occurred.   

There was an alert in Holbox in June from service providers warning tourists that counterfeit bills were being used in the area.   

Incidents were also reported further south of Bacalar, close to the Mexico-Belize border, with at least six separate incidents being reported in May. 

@3days3noches During this last trip we exchanged dollars for pesos at the Cancun Airport and the exchange rate is higher there. Also you really don’t need pesos. You just need to know the exchange rate. It was too confusing for me to have both pesos and dollars. #cancunairporttips #cancunairport2023 #travelreviews #travelchannel #travelvlog #traveltips2023 #3days3noches #cancunmexico2023 #cancunmexico #allinclusiveresort #adultsallinclusiveresort #allinclusivevacation ♬ original sound – 3days3noches

Where To Watch Out For The Scam 

Holbox is about as far north as you can go in the state of Quintana Roo, and the fake bills found in May were found beyond the most southern point of the state.   

This means that these counterfeit bills can be anywhere in between.   

Tourists should watch out for being scammed with fake pesos in Holbox, Cancun, Playa del Carmen, Cozumel, Puerto Morelos, Isla Mujeres, Tulum, Chetumal, and Bacalar. 

Pesos in a cash register.

History Of Counterfeit Scams In The Mexican Caribbean  

Counterfeit money in the Mexican Caribbean does not seem to be a common occurrence.   

The reports of counterfeit bills this year already far surpass the number of reports from last year.   

In fact, there was only one incident of finding fake bills reported each week last year, and sources say that there is one about every two days this year.   

A pile of Mexican pesos.

Consequences Of Using Counterfeit Pesos 

Even if you get scammed into accepting a counterfeit Mexican peso and don’t realize it and then use it, there can be consequences.   

If there is no trail of how you came across the bill, you could be charged with a crime for inadvertently using it.   

This could lead to any one of a number of punishments, including jail time, which is not something you want to face anywhere, let alone in a foreign country.   

50 and 100 Mexican peso bills.

Tips For Avoiding Being Scammed With Counterfeit Pesos 

While there is little you can do to avoid getting passed a counterfeit bill, there are a few things you can do to minimize the chance of it happening.   

One thing to note is that the pesos most commonly being counterfeited right now are the 100, 200, and 500 peso bills, so those are the bills you want to pay particular attention to.   

Most places also accept credit cards, so you may want to use those when you can so that you don’t have to worry about counterfeit bills at all during your Mexican Caribbean vacation. 

Plan Your Next Cancun Vacation:

Traveler Alert: Don’t Forget Travel Insurance For Your Next Trip!

Choose From Thousands of Cancun and Riviera Maya Hotels, Resorts and Hostels with Free Cancellation On Most Properties

↓ Join the community ↓

The Cancun Sun Community FB group has all the latest travel news, conversations and tourism Q&A’s for the Mexican Caribbean


Subscribe to our Latest Posts

Enter your email address to subscribe to The Cancun Sun’s latest breaking news affecting travelers, straight to your inbox.