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Vacations Rental Scams Soar In Cancun & Mexican Caribbean According To New Report

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Scams affecting Cancun and the Mexican Caribbean’s booming vacation rental market are skyrocketing this year according to a new report from the digital platform Properties.

A new study published this week reveals that the Mexican Caribbean state of Quintana Roo currently ranks the worst in Mexico in terms of vacation rental scams, with over 3000 crimes reported in the first quarter of the year alone. 

aerial view of cancun's resort area

As Airbnb and other platforms continue to soar in popularity, officials are introducing new measures to tackle online crime.

Despite growing crime levels, experts say new regulations could improve the situation later this year. 

With that in mind, here’s the latest on vacation rental scams in Cancun and the Mexican Caribbean

User of Airbnb app in cancun

Online Rentals Rise In Popularity In Cancun Despite Safety Concerns 

In 2024, online vacation rentals – especially those offered on Airbnb – are trending more than ever in Cancun and the Mexican Caribbean. 

Online rentals represent nearly 30% of all available accommodations in the region and are increasing in number year after year.

With travelers seeking more authentic accommodations and affordable rates, platforms like Airbnb are filling the gap with thousands of stunning properties.

Police Vehicles Parked Outside of Coco Bongo in Cancun, Mexico

But as the vacation rental market booms, so does the number of scams plaguing travelers.

Reports of fake listings, misleading ads, and even identity theft have become all too common across Mexican Caribbean hotspots. 

A new study published this week by Propiedades, a leading Mexican real estate firm, sheds light on the worrying vacation rental market in Quintana Roo.

a beauitful online rental in tulum

According to the website, the Mexican Caribbean state of Quintana Roo reported the third-highest number of vacation rental scams and online frauds in Mexico during the first quarter of 2024. 

A whopping 3,143 scams were reported during the period, affecting both travelers and long-term buyers seeking out their dream homes. 

The report shows that phishing remains by far the most common scam affecting the vacation rental market.

Scammers are increasingly resorting to advanced methods whereby they set up data-stealing websites to look like official realtors or rental platforms.

a vacation rental pool in a mexican caribbean hotspot

Afterward, scammers typically ask buyers or renters to insert sensitive information like their name, ID numbers, and card details, which are promptly copied and used maliciously. 

Other scams commonly reported in the Mexican Caribbean involve the selling of fake properties.

These scams typically lure travelers with below-market rates as well as amazing pictures of outdoor pools & lavish amenities.

After paying the deposit, the seller disappears with the booker’s money.

police vehicle in Mexico

Follow These Crucial Tips To Avoid Vacation Rental Scams 

Despite the alarming rise in online rental scams, officials have introduced a number of measures to tackle crime affecting the vacation rental market.

Key to the new framework is a law obliging all properties to join the new vacation rental registry. 

The move is part of a bolder effort to regulate the market, which suffers from poor public oversight.

For the time being, the responsibility of booking a safe online rental rests with travelers. 

Cancun Vacation Rentals and Pools

Thus, visitors are urged to only use official booking sources like Airbnb or

One of the most important steps travelers can take is to double-check the URL to ensure they are only using a legitimate website. 

When it comes to choosing one of the over 60,000 opaline rentals across the Mexican Caribbean, opt for properties with plenty of traveler reviews – including recent ones – and ensure the rental is located in a safe area. 

Overall, online rentals are an excellent alternative to all-inclusives or hotels, providing affordable rates for longer stays and an authentic experience.

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