Travelling is such a sought after and loved activity these days, with solo travelling becoming more and more common. Mexico is a popular destination; if you’re planning a trip, it helps to be aware of some of the common scams in Mexico.
Mexico is one of the world’s biggest tourist destinations. Its gorgeous beaches and interesting cultures cannot help but mesmerise the many tourists and travellers that throng its streets each and every year. And, as is the case with the best tourist destinations around the world, Mexico also isn’t devoid of scams. Here are some of the most common scams in Mexico to be aware of for a happy travelling experience:
This is one of the most common problems in virtually every city of the world – pick-pocketing. Mexico has a huge population, and there are a fair few economical problems within large chunks of the populace. Opportunities for education can be limited, and costs of living can be high. As with many places around the world, tourists can be seen as an easier target for people who want to earn a living in a less than honest manner. Always be mindful of where your belongings are, and how secure they are. Avoid looking too much like a typical tourist, and don’t flash expensive items or wads of cash. Essentially, don’t make yourself look like an attractive target! Use your own padlocks on dormitory lockers, use locks on your bags, carry money in separate places around your person, carry small day packs on your front, etc. Be especially vigilant in crowded places, around popular tourist attractions, in markets, and on public transport.
This is one of the most infamous methods of scamming visitors to Mexico. Pleasant-looking people approach unsuspecting tourists with survey forms to fill out and then walk away with a whole load of personal details. This is quite a common trick, and even the sharpest tourists are susceptible to this scam. As a rule, you should avoid filling out survey forms when travelling around Mexico. Especially those that ask for your hotel name, your passport number, etc. Con-artists are quite adept at finding out where you are staying, and when they know you are out and about for the day somebody empties your room of all your belongings! Or, you could fall foul of a common timeshare hard sell that is common in many places around the globe.
Be careful of where you go at night in Mexico. ATM robberies are quite common in Mexico. Try and minimise your risk by withdrawing cash during daylight hours. Also, don’t use ATMS that are in desolate and deserted spots. Where possible, try to use those that are within a secure building, such as inside a bank. As always, shield your PIN and put your cash away before walking off.
This is another quite ingenious scam that can hit travellers in Mexico. People claiming to be officials of some sort will approach you and ask you to pay a fine of some sort. Do not pay the fine unless you have seen the proper documentation regarding the fine. Use the internet to verify such unexpected claims from unknown persons. Be careful while dealing with them because you cannot be sure of whether they are fake officials or real ones.
Food and Drink
Another common way of fleecing tourists is by splicing food or drinks with some chemical that makes them faint or forgetful, and then making off with the tourist’s belongings. A version of this scam exists across most major cities of the world. Don’t leave food and drinks unattended. And, be wary of who you actually entrust to watch your dishes and drinks if you must pop to the bathroom or similar. Solo travellers are strongly recommended not to accept drinks from strangers.
Whilst there are several common scams in Mexico to keep in mind, many travellers enjoy the beautiful country with no problems at all. Exercise some common sense, don’t let your guard drop or be lulled into a false sense of security, and enjoy your time in Mexico!