Even though Cancun has made great strides in improving its safety as a world-class destination, online travel scams are rising, prompting officials to warn travelers about risky bookings.
And with over 1.8 million travelers expected to set foot in the crown jewel of the Mexican Caribbean this summer alone, authorities have launched a new digital campaign to raise awareness about the issue.
In this article, we’ll review the latest information on online fraud and provide several crucial tips for travelers when making online bookings.
Officials Urge Travelers To Double Check Accommodation And Activity Bookings
July and August are the busiest months for Cancun’s booming travel industry, and that period also coincides with an unfortunate uptick in criminal activity targeting unsuspecting travelers.
Authorities have been tracking the number of reported crimes and have observed a worrying trend: although street-level crimes have decreased, the number of scams committed in the digital world is skyrocketing.
Affecting everything from fake accommodation bookings to fraudulent activity packages, more and more criminals are ditching traditional means – like pickpocketing – in favor of more tech-savvy methods.
@mtinatravels Watch out for this super common scam at the Cancun International Airport! It isn’t scary or overwhelming if you are prepared, so just make sure you know what to expect! Like if you want more travel tips and tricks! #traveladvisor #cancun #traveltipsandhacks ♬ original sound – Martina | Travel Advisor
That’s why officials recently launched a new campaign called Verifica y viaja (Verify and Travel), urging travelers to check the authenticity of websites selling hotel or excursion packages.
Despite more efforts to crack down on fraud, criminals are resorting to increasingly sophisticated methods to target travelers. Fake ads, unverified payment systems, and unbelievably low-priced deals are just some of the tactics being employed by scammers.
With a record-breaking summer season on the horizon, officials across the Mexican Caribean have implanted one of the largest security operations on record, involving units from Mexico’s National Guard, Navy, and civil protection agencies.
Authorities are also dedicating more resources to tackling online crimes as part of new enhanced security protocols. Nevertheless, travelers play a large role in combatting the phenomenon, which is why experts have stressed the importance of browsing safely.
Do This Before Booking
Nowadays, most travelers pre-book several important services well before their arrival in Cancun, most notably accommodation, transfers, and activities. And with nearly all bookings taking place online, it’s more important than ever to take precautions.
In the case of booking accommodation, use well-known websites like Booking.com or other online travel agencies. But even that isn’t a fool-proof strategy, as scammers are known to create fake listings with unreasonably low prices, which turn out to be scams.
@sunwingvacations Things to do in Cancun, Mexico🇲🇽PART 2: Our favourite day trips & excursions! Which tour catches your eye the most? Les meilleures activités à faire à Cancún, au Mexique🇲🇽 2e partie : Nos excursions et sorties préférées! Laquelle vous attire le plus? #cancun #cancunmexico #cancunthingstodo #thingstodo #mexicotravel #cancuntravel #travelmexico #greenscreen ♬ original sound – Sunwing Vacations
For online rentals, look for verified properties that have at least several credible reviews, and only book through legitimate websites. Airbnb is increasingly popular in Cancun, so make sure to use the company’s official website or app, and avoid clicking on online ads.
With regards to activities, websites like Tripadvisor or Viator are a great resource to read through traveler reviews, with countless top-rated options.
Some activities can also be booked through Mexico-based agencies or websites, which may offer cheaper deals or special promotions. Travelers can refer to Quintana Roo’s Tourism Directory which contains all of the licensed tour operators in the state.
Travelers can also arrange last-minute bookings through their resort’s concierge services, which some smaller hotels and boutique accommodations may lack. Regardless, Cancun’s hospitality staff are considered some of the best in the world and are always happy to assist guests in booking unforgettable experiences.
Unfortunately, some unlucky travelers will continue to fall victim to online crimes. Even so, there are several resources they can use to report fraud, such as Guest Assist, a new digital tool launched by local officials which tourists can use to contact law enforcement.
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