Did you know that Mexico is one of the most popular travel destinations in the world? Just last year, Mexico was a host to 11.44 million international tourists according to the Mexican Tourism Board. Out of these tourists, 7.86 million were US citizens.
This is not at all surprising, given that Mexico is home to the most UNESCO World Heritage sites in both South and North America. Mexico also offers a vast number of beautiful beaches, ancient ruins and incredible cuisine.
But one thing that constantly threatens to spoil your business trip to Mexico is a high crime rate and a number of crimes and scams aimed at visitors. In this article, we are going to list three most common scams.
The Mexican Rental Insurance Scam
The classic among scams, the infamous Mexican insurance scam got the best even out of the most cautious tourists. This scam starts with the online car rental ads with ridiculously low prices of down to $5 per day. If it sounds too good to be true, that’s because it is.
As you might already know, you need to have a special Mexican auto insurance policy if you are traveling to Mexico via car. Your regular car insurance policy does not cover this liability insurance so you have to buy it before your trip. Read more about it here: https://www.mexicaninsurance.com/FAQ.aspx
The same goes for rental cars. And if you ask the rental agency whether the car is insured, they will likely say yes. But when you get to the counter, you’ll find out about the hidden cost. As it happens, rental companies require you to purchase a personal liability insurance policy. The price of these policies stars with $20, but goes much higher. It covers the damage you cause to the car, another party or a building. Even if you have your own policy, you will still have to purchase one from the rental company before you ever get handed the keys.
To protect yourself from the scam, make sure you ask your US insurance company what kind of coverage they provide, so you don’t pay more than you should. Get familiar with the real rental prices in Mexico and look rental companies up on the internet to see if they run a legitimate business.
This might sound like a far less dangerous scam than it actually is. It involves taxi drivers renting out their vehicles to criminals who then patrol the streets for tourists. If you get into one of these vehicles, you’re at their mercy. The drivers might threaten you with a weapon and rob you of your possessions or take you to an ATM to extort all your funds.
To protect yourself make sure you research which Taxi companies are licensed and what their vehicles look like. Avoid taxis with no markings and unlicensed taxi apps. Before you board a taxi make sure you ask for the driver’s license and ID. Finally, consider carrying a small wallet with a little money in it, and if you get threatened you can offer it instead of your real wallet.
Gas Station Scams
These are more likely to occur in remote areas close to places rich in tourists and near airports. Before you start, make sure the pump is at a zero. Also, make sure the attendants are not pumping out on the other end of the pump. Attendants also often use a separate container to let some of the gas out and charge you for it.
Another common way to get scammed at a gas pump is when someone comes asking for money, and after they leave another attendant comes claiming you did not pay. Either one of them is a scammer or they might even be working together. Make sure to only pay at the counter and nowhere else. Also be careful when using a credit card. The attendant might charge you on the card and say their terminal is not working, asking for additional money.
To avoid being scammed, don’t use your credit card and make sure you always have some change in a local currency. Alternatively, use gas station chains where these scams are less likely to happen.
This article is not meant to discourage you from visiting Mexico for business or leisure. It is a great country rich in culture and amazing natural wonders. This article was meant to bring these common scams to your attention and make sure you are prepared to deal with them if you ever find yourself in one of these situations. Being aware of these common scams can help you prepare for them and make sure they don’t spoil your otherwise perfect business trip to Mexico.