41 WORST SCAMS IN MEXICO


Welcome back Tangerineys! If you’re
new to our Channel, I’m Jordan, this is Maddie, and together we are Tangerine Travels. We’re just missing our little sidekick Laska. I’m Laska! [Laughter] So today we are going to
be talking about many scams that you might experience while living in or
traveling through Mexico. Some of these are scams that we have ourselves
experienced and others are that we’ve heard from friends or in the dozens of
Mexico related Facebook groups that we’re in. On a slightly unrelated note if
you guys follow us on social media or maybe you saw in our last video that we
would be coming at you next from Bacalar, That’s where we went last week – one of my
all-time favorite places in Mexico. That video is going to be a huge, amazing,
whopper of a video that I am intimidated to edit but it’s not actually going to
be coming out this week but very very soon! This is a scam we’ve been hearing a
lot about lately! In addition to people Reaching out to us saying this happened
to them. We mentioned it in a video recently and we got a couple more
comments saying that it just happened to them. So sad! And that… I couldn’t believe, actually, once we mentioned that, how many other people were coming forward with their
stories. And that is flying into the Cancun Airport and getting extorted by
the customs officials for being over the limit. And it seems like it’s primarily
people who have cigarettes, yeah. And You’re allowed something like ten
packages or something? The most recent document I’ve seen – it said you’re
allowed ten packs. Packs! That’s what they’re called. [Laughter] To bring into the country.
And what happens is they have more than what’s allowed, and then they’re brought
into this back room, and then they’re like “Pay me five hundred or a thousand
US dollars. 1,500 or something crazy! Otherwise you’re not going to be allowed into the country.” Or we’ll
take you off to jail for bringing this in illegally or not declaring or something.
It’s a really crappy position to be in and a horrible way to start your Mexico
vacation, so it’s definitely something you want to avoid. A suggestion that
someone had was to print out a sheet that says exactly what you’re allowed to
have or the taxes that you’re required to pay so they know that you know
exactly what your laws are what the laws are what your rights are. The last time
we made a video about scams in this area The video ended up getting picked up by a news outlet – the state news of
Quintana Roo, and I really hope this does as well because this is what’s going to
get these customs officials to stop scamming people. Because, like you said,
that has got to be like the absolute worst thing – the worst case scenario!
Sometimes this is people’s first steps into the country – their first steps are
in the Cancun Airport – and then one of the first experiences they have are a
customs agent trying to extort money out of them? Like that’s gonna make people
never want to come back to Mexico again. And if it isn’t clear already we want
people to come to Mexico and find out how awesome it is and why we like it, but
we don’t want them to have these experiences that are going to make them
want to run for the hills – never come here again – and never look back. There are a slew of scams that revolve around basically
paying for a service and then not actually receiving it or only having it
partially completed or partially done and then. Yeah. (Maddie mocking Jordan) Yeah! [Laughter] And then on the other hand there is
rendering a service or eating the thing and then getting scammed into paying
more money afterwards because you’ve already eaten the hamburger or the tacos
or whatever so then you kind of have to pay whatever price even if they are
trying to gringo price or gouge you or whatever the case may be. So one example of this is we were living in Ajijic and the owners of the house
came back, and when they started living there, someone knocked on their door one
day and this guy’s like “Hey I’ll paint this wall for you for 300 pesos” Or 600
pesos, or whatever it was. And then they paid him and then the guy was never to
be seen again. Yeah, he probably said “let me go grab the paint and I’ll be right back” and then he
was never back again. Never seen or heard from. We asked on our Facebook group
about scams that you guys have experienced and there was a comment
about hair braiding. She says “I was with a friend on the beach in Mazatlan where
two girls were offering to braid hair. My friend agreed on their price and she
paid them. But after only half her hair was done they demanded more money to
finish and even started to walk away. She had no choice but to pay them more. She
ended up paying more than double what they had
originally charged. So that’s like the perfect example of paying for the
service and then they are in a power position to like bully you out of some
more money. It’s like well you don’t want half your hair braided, you look
ridiculous. It’s like you need to pay me more. So what could you even do in a
situation like this? My first instinct is to like maybe get
your phone out and take a picture of them and say “I’m going to the police.” But
I almost think like in a situation like that, you don’t want to make waves. You
don’t want to make a big deal over hair braids kind of thing, or like a small
situation similar to that so… What would you guys do? What would you do in that situation? The one thing I can think of, if I really wanted to make waves, and really
want to let it be known that this woman’s a scam artist is: I’d take a photo
of them and then write up a little thing in Microsoft Word with their photo
saying “This person is a scam artist” Telling the story in Spanish, and then
post it all over the city. You can tell Jordan has burned by
Hair Braiding before. [Laughter] You’re like “I will post it all over the city!” I feel like that’s
pretty extreme. But I also think it’s pretty shady… They’re probably not going to do it again!
I think it’s pretty shady that someone would do this in the first place. And on this whole list you guys, we’re Trying to say that like everyone is
out to get you. I know we’re gonna get comments like “Oh you’re making it seem
like Mexico is a shit hole” or “Mexicans are evil” And like some people are, just
like anywhere in the world. We’re just hoping to share these things so that you
don’t fall – you don’t become a victim to them and put your get yourself in a
situation like this if it can be avoided. We’ve made like 250 videos about
Mexico – talking about how much we love Mexico! Three of them have been about scams. [Laughter] So don’t go telling us that we’re just talking shit about the country! We ain’t! [Laughter] Another example of this, we have some friends who live in Ajijic and they’ve built several
AirBnbs, and they had some problems when they were building them with contractors.
Yeah, so essentially they entered into a contractual construction agreement. It’s
like “contractual construction agreement” Tongue twister! [Laughter] and they paid for the
work to be done, and in some cases the materials were not all delivered and the
work was not completed. Once again to avoid this, what do you do? Maybe get
local recommendations from other people who have had good experiences. Use
someone who has tight ties with the community. That’s something our current… Mosquito! That’s something our current landlord said – He brought out this guy to
install a curtain rod for us and something else. He said he always
looks for someone who’s local – born and raised locally so that it’s like they
have a little bit more accountability to the community and they’re not just
trying to like get in there, get out, and like get your money. And he has extensive –
him and his wife have extensive experience – like decades of managing
properties and dealing with upgrades and stuff andI think that’s probably good advice. Solid logic – it’s not some
like fly-by-night person that’s just coming in, in and out, and boom bam gone! [Maddie being weird] This next scam is going to be a shock to
some people when they get back home and look at their bank statements, but that
is that sometimes people will charge your credit card for US dollars when you
were thinking you were paying pesos. So for instance, you buy some artesania,
a piece of jewelry, and it’s supposed to be 400 pesos, they actually charge you
in dollars. So in this case it’s good to have a mobile app that you can check
the charge as soon as it happens and also make sure to get a receipt. And it
will say MXN or pesos on it so you know it’s not in US dollars or at least
you have some proof and recourse for your bank later. Another scam that you’ll
face a lot if you’re traveling throughout Mexico is getting incorrect
change. And no this is not a scam every time because we’ve gotten more change
than we were supposed to at times and obviously that’s not a scam! It’s
just an honest mistake and honest mistakes happen both ways. I think this
is the most common scam that’s happened to us across the country. It’s happened
to us at toll booths, at restaurants, with taxi drivers, at the grocery store, and
like Jordan said, it’s not always a scam. Sometimes it’s an honest mistake
but since it’s happened so many times and so frequently it’s something
– just always check your change, know what change you’re supposed to get back, count it carefully, and don’t leave the situation until you know you’ve gotten
the right stuff back. But this makes it sound like this happens all the time, and while
it is common, still 99% of our purchases we get the correct change. Right, I’m just
meaning to imply that it’s happened all across the country – it’s not
just isolated in one area or anything. And it has happened frequently enough that
it gets the designation of the most common scam that we’ve encountered. One
way that we keep ourselves safe online when we’re hooking up to public Wi-Fi
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that sale which helps us continue making videos just like this one. This is a big
one to watch out for that happens a lot in this Riviera Maya area and that is You’re out and about and some vendor is like “Oh hey, I know you from the resort!”
But in reality they don’t actually know you and they’ve never seen you before in
their life, they just saw that you have a resort wristband so they know you’re a
tourist and that’s how they build trust and are able to price gouge you or sell
you something more easily. In this case they’re starting the interaction out by
lying to you, so you can assume you’re dealing with a dishonest person. Okay,
this next scam has got to be one of the most common that I’ve ever heard of in Puerto Morelos specifically, and I do know that this is one that happens all over
the world but we’re mentioning it since In our very sweet charming beach town
that not very many scams happen, this one does. Specifically at the beach, no I’m
sorry, at the highway Chedraui grocery store. Outside there’s a scam where
someone will spill ketchup, or mustard, or some type of thing on you and then
quickly be like “Oh my gosh! I’m so sorry! Let me help you clean this up.” And while
you leave your purse or your bags or whatever in the cart, the person that’s
helping you out has an accomplice that comes and steal stuff or your phone. It has actually been someone with kids and the kids steal it. Kids! It’s even worse! Oh gosh! Oh gosh! It’s so sunny! If anyone ever tries to distract you by saying you have bird poop on you, or
ketchup, or whatever, be aware that there’s a good chance they’re probably
trying to steal something from you whether it’s a pickpocket situation or
something like that. Alright so let’s talk about scams surrounding taxis. It is
probably no secret to most people that taxi drivers are going to scam you no
matter where you are in the world. We’ve experienced this in every country we’ve
ever visited, but what are some of the ones that people might want to watch out
for in Mexico specifically? Yeah, so one is being price gouged. In the various
cities throughout Mexico, most of the taxis are run by taxi syndicates, and
these taxi syndicates have set prices that they’re supposed to charge you from
one zone to another. And especially if you come to a tourist town, you’re
probably going to get gouged almost every single time if you don’t know
what the set prices are here. I think we’re pretty fortunate here where
we live in Puerto Morelos that if we ask a taxi what the prices to a certain
location, 90% of the time or more they’re going to give us the real
price, the honest price. But that’s not the case elsewhere. So what can you do? You can ask them for that price sheet to see what it should cost from one point to the
next. I personally think a good way to go about it is to clarify and state the
price before you even get in. Some people, like we were talking about before, some
people might say “Oh well that’s more likely to get you gouged or scammed
because then they know that you don’t really know what it is” or something like that. They’ll say “No, you should know the price” But while that might be good advice in – mosquito here – While that might be good advice in a popular tourist town like
Playa del Carmen or something, I don’t Think it’s realistic if you’re
traveling around Mexico like we are and going to all of these different cities. Like just pick some random city and to say “Oh yeah, just know the price up from
every zone to the other every zone” We do often ask our Airbnb host or our host wherever Like “What should the price be from the
airport to here?” so we know when we ask the price. I just personally prefer to
clarify the price ahead of time because then it’s totally understood by everyone
involved that this is the price and this is what we’re paying because another
scam is that you get to the end, the service has therefore been rendered,
you’re getting out, and then all of a sudden they’re like “No it’s a hundred US
dollars” when you anticipate it being like two hundred pesos or ten dollars, so
that’s the way that we like to go about it. But just be aware that this is
something that happens and you should just have your guard up even more when
it comes to taxi drivers. Because of all the scams surrounding taxis, this is why
we use Uber whenever it’s available and it’s been available in about half of the
cities we’ve been to in Mexico. But in this whole region, the taxi drivers
actually basically like kicked them out violently. Violently kicked out the uber
drivers. They would order an uber and wait for it to get there and beat up the
driver. Like it was kind of insane, so It doesn’t exist in this area and
unfortunately you have to employ some like extra tactics to try to make sure
you don’t get scammed. Since we’re here eating lunch right now we wanted to share
with you some of the scams and tourist traps that can kind of happen to you
when you’re at a restaurant. And one of those is having things add on to your
bill that you didn’t consume. This is something that can be an honest mistake
and I’m sure it does happen sometimes where they accidentally put something on
there or put something from someone else’s tab onto ours accidentally. But we
went to Playa del Carmen a while back and literally 75% of the restaurants we
went to had something on the bill that we didn’t order. So when it’s happening
three out of four times you know that’s not an accident, that’s a scam. Another thing that can happen at a restaurant is that the price shows up differently on the bill than it was listed on the
menu, and in Mexico that’s illegal. They have to advertise the price on the menu
of what they’re going to charge you and that price includes tax. You might see on the bill later the tax is on a separate line that says “IVA” but
the total should be what it says on the menu. Yeah, and if it is a different price
on the bill than what it was on the menu this isn’t necessarily a scam. It could
be, but it could also be that they just haven’t updated all of their menus and
you got an old menu. We’ve seen that happen quite a few times. So again,
sometimes this is an honest mistake as well. That said, they are required to show
you the accurate prices, so even if you do get an old menu and then it has
higher prices on the bill you can still Contest it because they’re required to
show you the price that it is actually – That they’re actually going to charge you.
Another thing that you might see especially in this region, in the state
of Quintana Roo, is that you’ll get your change back from your bill but it
includes their suggested that they’ve already taken out of it.
Oftentimes you’ll see this happen when they don’t return the receipt so you
have no way to check it if you want really paying attention. So what they’re
hoping for is that you’ll double tip on top of the tip they already took out
which is 100% illegal so that’s why we always pay special attention to the bill and what type of change we’re getting
back so we never get shortchanged like this or double tip. Something else to
really watch out for when you’re at a restaurant is if you’re paying with a
card, almost always they’re going to bring a card reader to you. Never let your card out of sight. If they do take your card away. be very very wary about
what’s… Very very wary [Laughs] About what’s going on there because that’s highly
unusual There are times though that if you want
to pay with a card you have to go to the cashier, and if you don’t understand that
that’s what they’re saying They might legitimately take your card
at a time like that and bring it to the cashier themselves because you didn’t
understand. If there’s malicious intent here, the scam is that they
want to get your card away from you so they can write down the number or
something like that ,or clone it, or make a purchase without realizing it. So
that’s why you should always have that in your sight and the red flags should go up if they take it away because that’s just not usual in
Mexico for paymen. I got camarones al ajillo, shrimp with ajillo pepper. These are
perhaps the most delicious shrimp I’ve tried in Mexico so far, these are amazing!
And I got pollo asado and it was 105 pesos. My plate is excellent as well. I have nothing but great things to say about
this place, El Sarape Mexicano, if you’re looking for an authentic Mexican dining
experience that isn’t a taco stand in PuertoMorelos, I think this is as
close as you get. This is really authentic, really tasty Mexican food, and
at reasonable prices with air-conditioning, and Wi-Fi, and all that
good stuff and the manager, David, he speaks really good English as well.
Another scam that you’ll want to look out for is people trying to sort of
bully you or persuade you into giving a tip where it isn’t culturally expected.
And of course there are lots of situations where it is like: when a
musician comes and plays music for the restaurant, or tipping the baggers at a
grocery store, or you know tipping for your food, something like that. But one
example is cab drivers. It’s not really expected that you give them a tip
although of course you’re more than welcome to if they help you with your
groceries, or your luggage, or something. But we were personally victim to this and
the cab driver was not backing down… Thanks a lot. Yes. [Gives cab driver a tip or 150 pesos] It’s lacking. No, it’s more than 10%. No, it’s 20%. No. Yes, give me 100 pesos more. It’s so far. No, no, no. I already paid 1,400 (pesos). It’s so far. 50 pesos more, give it to me. No. We gave him something like 150 pesos
even though – in tip – even though that was way more than necessary and he
was demanding more and more and more and we didn’t end up giving any to him.
This next scam is that sometimes people will claim that they have precious
metals or stones like they have gold or silver, rubies, or whatever the case may
be, and they’re trying to pass it off as real and charge a boatload for it when
in reality it’s not. You might be thinking “Oh!” Like you do the conversion
pesos to your currency if “This is actually a pretty good deal!” But that’s
probably because it’s not authentic, it’s not the real deal. It’s a synthetic or
low-quality knockoff, so if you’re gonna buy these things, buy them because you
like the way they look, or maybe it is a good deal for whatever it is. But don’t
buy them because you think they have a high resale value or it’s really
valuable. And this really applies when you’re coming to tourist towns like we
bought a silver ring in Oaxaca that came from a mountain town where they actually
mine silver. So in that case you’re probably getting the real deal. But if
you’re coming to Cancun or Playa del Carmen and they’re trying to sell you on a
gold or silver ring or something like that, you’re probably not getting the
real deal. Thank you guys so much for watching this video up to this point! It
is not over yet but if you’re liking it so far please consider subscribing to
our youtube channel because we put out other videos about our life in Mexico
and traveling through the country. Lots of tips and advice for living here and
loving it! And also our guilty pleasure Vegas. Alright, so you’re coming to
Mexico and you’re looking to rent a place longer term. Something you really
need to watch out for is this… This! It is that sometimes people will
claim that they own the property, they will get your rent, and your deposit, and
everything else. They don’t actually own the property and one of two things can
happen, one of two main things. One is they just pocket the money and you don’t
actually get to stay there or they know of the place and you do end up getting
to stay there, the owners come back eventually and find out you’re They’re like “Why the hell are
you living in my house?” Like ” Why are you living here?” and then you’re in a whole world of other
trouble! So I’m not totally sure all the ways you can get around this other than
like having a contract, an official contract. But I mean how do you prove
that someone owns the property? Well, one way you could get around this is by
dealing with someone with ties to the community like a realtor. If you’re going
through a realtor you know they have probably done the proper things to make
sure that the person renting it out actually owns it. But we’ve heard of this
happening many many times so this is not a rare scam at all. So it’s something you
definitely need to watch out for! And Another scam we’re gonna talk about is
an Airbnb scam. Airbnb is like what we almost exclusively use for finding
rentals throughout Mexico. We do love Airbnb, however there have been many
times where someone posts deceptive looking pictures or they mislead you
into saying there’s features that it doesn’t have. It’s relatively common to
the point that we actually made a video on this – how to avoid an Airbnb rental
nightmare – by combing through the listing a little bit more thoroughly and looking
for these red flags. Alright, the next category of scams is Gas! And no I’m not talking about the
smelly symphony generally coming out of Jordan and Laska! Excuse me! [Laughs] In a recent video we told you there’s a million and one ways to get scanned while you’re
getting gas and we thought long and hard about all the ways and we came up with
five. There are there are obviously more than five but we could literally make a
video series on how you could get scammed at the gas pump, so we’re gonna
tell you about the big ones! First thing you’re gonna want to look
out for is that the pump is zeroed out and we recommend telling them a specific amount of gas because one way that they can scam you
is by putting the gas pump in, not pumping any gas, and then just charging
you for what the last person paid. So say they filled up 439 pesos, they tell you “okay 439” You pay that, you leave, and you realize you
didn’t actually get any gas. So if you tell them the amount that you want and
make sure to look at that pump – that it goes to zero before they start pumping
then that’s how you know you’re not going to get scammed in that way. In that
way! Another scam that comes when they don’t zero out the pump is they might
still pump gas into your car but it will be adding on to what the last person
already paid. So let’s say the last person paid 300 pesos worth of
gas and they pumped 400 more pesos into your car and then they charge
you 700 and then pocket the difference. They pocket the 300. And
although this is the most common, we have to bring it up anyway – when you go to
pay you hand them a bill, say it’s a five hundred pesos bill and they distract
you and they switch it out for twenty since the new 500s look almost identical to
the 20s. Or you give them a 500 And they say “Oh you gave me a fifty!” aAnd so then you’re like “oh maybe I did get them the wrong bill?” And
then they just stole that money from you essentially – you’re having to pay even
more on top of that. This is a brand new scam to me – one I recently heard about –
they’re getting crafty with this. You’ll ask them to fill up the tank and then
they’ll put 550 pesos or whatever the number is, whatever fills
up your tank worth of gas, and then they’ll have some people distract you. Maybe one person is washing your window so you can’t see it what the other
person is doing at the pump and then the person will type into the pump
900 pesos. So they have nine hundred written on there instead of the
550 that it actually costs and then they’ll pocket the difference. This
last gas scam is very common and it comes when you pay with card. What
happens is they’ll run the card, the transaction will go through, but they’ll
tell you it didn’t. And then they’ll want you to pay cash. So then you pay
cash and then you just paid twice. They pocket all the cash you just paid them.
We actually heard about someone who this happened to and they got out of this.
They were actually able to have their bank refund that money to them because
they had the thought To request a receipt for the cash
payment since they were filling up a Motorhome or an RV and it was so much
that they wanted a receipt for that. So then they were able to prove “Look we
have this receipt for the cash we paid. They said that this didn’t go through.”
But otherwise you would be shit out of luck. The bank’s not going to do anything for you
because there’s no proof that you didn’t pay that – you ran that charge. In this
video that we’re going to link right here we tell you a couple simple steps
you can take that will help you avoid every single gas scam that we mentioned
and get you out of here unscathed every time. Although we told you about all
these scams here there are plenty of honest people who work at these gas
stations and to help the honest ones make a living, if they’re nice, if they
clean your window, or do anything for you, Give them five, ten, twenty pesos –
something as a token of appreciation for helping you out. Now let’s talk about ATM
scams. There’s quite a few ways you can get scammed when using an ATM and one of
those isn’t per se a scam but it is a tourist trap and it’s a total rip off!
Some ATMs will offer you their exchange rate. And you always want to press decline,
and this might be difficult for you if you don’t speak Spanish because the ATM
is probably going to be in Spanish and it will say “Do you accept the ATMs a
u.s. dollar to peso conversion ratio of blank” Whatever their shitty conversion
ratio is. And you need to press that big red button. That does not mean it’s going
to decline the transaction but it is declining that conversion rate. And by
doing that you’re saving yourself somewhere between five and ten percent
most likely on the crappy conversion rate that they’re gonna give you. This
next one unfortunately happened to us or I should say almost happened to us at
the ATM just last week. We were pulling out some cash and it didn’t actually
spit out all of the 6,000 pesos that we were withdrawing. There was
something like what? 2,500. Yeah. So I’m like “Oh wait wait there’s
cash here!” You could barely see it so I lifted the black thing back up
and then I was able to pull out the rest of the cash. So yeah, we don’t know if that’s a faulty
machine or if it’s because someone tampered with it and put tape there. But
that is one that we’ve heard about happening a lot. Another one at the ATM you want to watch
out for is someone hanging around there like anyone who is just there, kind of in
the general vicinity of the ATM, even if it’s like within a bank or something. If
someone’s just hanging out, they’re very likely up to no good and there are
many scams where you are kind of… They’re sort of the spotter looking for
someone who’s taking out money and then they’ll let their accomplice know to do
something to distract you or to just outright Rob you or something. Or maybe they have a
card skimmer on the ATM and they’re trying to get your PIN and that’s why
they’re hanging out so close to it. There’s a lot of scams that revolve
around people hanging out near the ATM And there’s not really much you can do
because if someone’s just hanging out like you can’t just assume – because some
people are just hanging out – They just happen by the ATM or whatever. But in
this case, I think whenever I’ve seen like a group of people kind of just
there or hanging out by a car right by the ATM or something it’s like “Let’s
just wait to get cash out later” or not not do it at all, find another ATM. Yeah
or if you’re alone wait until both of us are together and we have a little bit
more protection in numbers. That’s another thing too, I won’t go to the ATM without
Jordan. Even if there’s no one there, especially if there’s no one there
actually, like if there’s no one around. I want someone like watching my back.
Another ATM scam is if anyone offers you help like “Oh, do you need help because
it’s in another language?” Oh yeah, “Translate it for you!” There’s a 99% chance they’re up to no
good. So decline their help. Okay, more about
ATMs. This next one is not exactly a scam per se but
just something to be aware of. They Sometimes have this thing like “Do you
want to donate to this charity?” or “Do you want to round up and then donate that
money?” This is also something that will happen at grocery stores, like this
happened to me we were checking out at Chedraui and the lady was just asking
question after question after question And we were just like “yes, yes, yes, thank you” I was
just thinking like “do I want a receipt?” Yes. “Do we want it put in a bag?” Yes, whatever. Like, okay let’s speed this along. But she was really
asking you want to round up for charity. It was probably like a peso or 50
centavos or something, not a huge deal. But like also one of those things that I
would have liked to be willingly making the decision and understanding it as
opposed to just kind of like going along because I didn’t really get the whole
interaction. Yeah, there’s a famous quote and this is wise wisdom I think, wise
wisdom [Laughs] “A fool and his money are soon parted” Are you calling me a fool?” I said a fool and HIS money. I’m obviously not talking about you. Oh, obviously, he’s talking about himself. [Laughter] I’m just kidding. The second to last thing on
the topic of ATMs is that we recommend never using a standalone ATM. You’ll
often see these like just out on the street or like sometimes outside of
little shops or something. But they’re usually not branded by any type of bank
they’re just like “ATM”. Always avoid those because they’re much more likely to be
tampered with. They typically have less security cameras and just security and
maintenance on them. So those are the type that are more likely to have some
tape stuck under it or a card cloner that’s just looking to swipe your card
details. So try to find one that’s inside of a grocery store, inside of a bank,
inside of an airport, Airport even, yeah. Those are all great options. The last story we want to
tell you on the topic of ATMs or ATM related scams is this lady in Puerto Vallarta had gone into the bank so she didn’t go to the ATM, she went into the
bank. She withdrew a large amount of money, and then got in her car, drove
away, and like two blocks down the road got a flat tire. So what happened here?
Well, there was likely a spotter or an inside man at the bank saying “Hey, this
person just withdrew a lot of money, put nails behind their tires.” Or put something to puncture the tires, put a knife in it, or whatever. Then they get out a couple blocks away from the bank where they’re in a more
vulnerable situation and then some friendly stranger comes and offers help
oh “Yeah, I have a friend who owns a tire shop, sure I’ll help you.” And then they
robbed her. They robbed her of all the money she just withdrew from the bank
which was a very sizable amount. Just generally realizing that you have a lot
of cash on you – if anybody possibly knows about that, I’d be suspicious of someone…
I mean like what are the chances that you immediately get a flat tire and then
someone’s trying to help you? My guard would probably go up. And it’s not to
say that there aren’t kind Mexicans that Are willing to help out because – they are
all over the place! I can totally see that same situation happening and it
actually being someone who has a friend that owns a tire shop and can
tow your car there or whatever. But with the cash involved, that was like… And oh
my gosh, adding insult to injury, now you have a flat tire and no money, that sucks!
So the next category of scams we’ll be talking about is driving. All things
related to being on the road in Mexico. The first scam is one that we recently
learned about from a Facebook group related to Mexico and that was about a
sticker being placed on the car. This person was like we have two cars full of
people and we were stopped and someone was asking for donations and
they didn’t give them any. But after they left, they realized that there was a
sticker on one of their cars and not the other. So they were like “What the
heck is going on here?” Yeah, because neither car gave a donation
so it couldn’t be indicating that one gave a donation and the other
didn’t. Or that they saw how much money was in the wallet or something like that.
But what people thought was actually happening, a scam that is out there ,is
that the car where the sticker is placed on it indicates up ahead to other people
that there’s something like a purse, or a phone, or wallet easily accessible. So if
someone else will stop them, and you roll down the window, they can easily grab
that and run. And this wasn’t a big sticker just like a small pink
sticker about the size your fingernail. In our experience, unless it’s
absolutely necessary to roll down your window for someone, we don’t. And even if
we do, like if it’s for a police officer, federales, or like military at a
checkpoint, that’s a time that I think it’s safe but otherwise we’ll just roll
it down a little bi. Just enough so that we can communicate with them. This next scam was something that happened to us when we were traveling in San Blas, Nayarit. We were given the clearance to park outside of the Airbnb where we
were staying at but a traffic cop came up and took our back license plate off.
Usually, they’ll take your front license plate and that’s often how other police
or officials know that you have some type of driving or parking infraction.
But he was taking our one and only back license plate because in Arizona you
only need one. And so we rushed out there seeing what the heck was going on and he
basically was telling us that We weren’t allowed to park there, even
though there weren’t signs, wasn’t a yellow curb or anything. And if we wanted
to get our license plate back we had to pay this ticket that he was writing. And
we were pretty insistent that we were not going to pay him directly like “where do
we go to pay this?” and because we were being so insistent about that he
eventually decided like “okay, well you know what just move the car and don’t park here again” and he gave us the license plate back. This scam is not necessarily unique to Mexico although we have heard of it happening
here and that’s that you get in the car, You notice out of your rear view mirror
that your view is obstructed because There’s something there. Cardboard, piece
of paper, or whatever. So you get out of the car to go take that off, and then
someone who is hoping that you would do That jumps in your car and steals it, or
they go in your car and grab your purse, your wallet, your phone, or whatever. Hop on a motorbike and they’re out of there. Yeah, then they’re gone forever. So thankfully, this
has never happened to us but I’ve heard of this happening in the US and Mexico.
When it comes to driving in Mexico the most common scam that you hear about is
crooked cops asking for a bribe or what’s called “mordida” [Maddie struggling to pronounce mordida] [Laughs] But it’s a little bit more complicated than that. And we will say that in two
years of driving all throughout Mexico we’ve been pulled over dozens upon
dozens of times for likely not having a front plate because it’s not required in
Arizona. We have never to this point paid a bribe nor have we been asked for a
bribe, but that’s not to say it won’t happen. No, so we’re gonna tell you about
some of the most common ways that you can be scammed while driving. So if a
person gets pulled over and the officer asked for a bribe it is almost always
because they were doing something wrong! Like speeding, or they are missing that
front license plate and they have a ticket, or they are doing something
incorrect, or they don’t have their correct temporary vehicle import permit
paperwork. Uh-huh, and then there’s times where they get pulled over, and
they didn’t do anything wrong, and the cop lies and says they ran a stop sign
or something like that. With these crooked cops, from all the stories we’ve
heard, this almost happens exclusively in Mexico City and in the Riviera Maya.
So in Mexico City we’ve heard many Stories about the circulation days and
that’s basically where certain cars are Only allowed to drive on certain days
with paperwork that you have to have. If You don’t have this they’re gonna say
pay me this fine and then I’ll let you go, or we’ll tow your car, and then you’re
gonna have to take a taxi to pay it in yada yada yada. But what happens when you are following the rules and you get pulled over and the officer is still
trying to weasel some money out of you? Well, we had an example in our Facebook
group and Lisa answered this “The other day on our way to Puerto Morelos from
Playa del Carmen we were pulled over. He said we ran a stop light which was
untrue. He said it would be a four thousand five hundred peso ticket. We
told them we were leaving the next day and would not be able to go pay it. We
told him that we didn’t have that. Luckily, we only had 120 pesos on us. We
told him this and he was clearly upset but made sure we weren’t recording him.
Asked us to put the money on the ticket So it was hidden and hand it back to him.
Once we did he tore up the ticket. We later learned in comments with her that
she pulled out her phone and took a Picture of the ticket hoping to get the
officers badge number or name and that’s what made him nervous and
willing to accept the 120 pesos instead of 4500 that he really wanted. So we’re
not actually sure what to do in a situation like this where you know
you’re in the right and you didn’t do anything to break the law or anything.
Except my first thought now is like immediately pull out the phone. Pull
out the phone and start recording the interaction or perhaps try to call
another officer. Like call the police and get someone else there. I think what I
would do: I would pull out my phone, I would start a Facebook live video, I
would tell him I’m recording him and that I know he’s being trying to scam me.
And I would make sure the recording device is out of his reach because I’ve
heard of cops taking people’s phones that they’re recording with, and throwing it on
the ground, and stomping the phone. You know as like crazy as this whole thing
is, how juicy would that be you guys? We start a Facebook live video and like
we’re not talking to you but you just See that something is going down. I
hope we never I hope we never have to do That but that really would be so juicy.
And also I think you would make them be like “okay, this isn’t just between
me and them anymore” like now other people are involved. And they don’t want
you recording, if they got recorded like asking for a bribe they’re probably
going to lose their job if that gets out there. But yeah, let us know what is
the best course of action? What’s the best thing to do in a situation like
this when you know you’re in the right and they’re still trying to push it? So
these next two have to do with rental cars. First is police officers know
exactly what rental cars look like and So some crooked cops are going to
specifically look for and target those because they have tourists and travelers
who very likely don’t know all the laws And don’t know their rights, so they’ll
put you in a situation where – even perhaps you’re on the way to the airport,
you’re trying to get to your flight on time, and they know this. So they’ll pull
you over and try to extort a bribe out of you just so you can be out of there
and on your way and be able to leave the country. Yeah, I’ve heard of them
specifically looking for rental car returns on the airport road. Yeah, and if
you’re planning on renting a car I’d say go in some Facebook groups like ours
make memories in Mexico with tangerine travels and ask this like “What do I
to look out for? What should I be doing and not doing to avoid getting in that
type of a situation? The other one to do with rental cars is that some companies that will – And by the way, this can happen Anywhere in the world but since we’re
talking about Mexico it can also happen here. This is where you bring the rental
car back after you’re all done and they say “oh there’s this damage here and you
caused this.” Unless you took pictures and video of the car before hand or have
documented it and signed off then they can actually say you caused this and you
don’t have any recourse with them. Yeah, I Would have thought and known to take
pictures and videos of the car when I got it but someone shared an
example of they claimed it was driven on low tires and there was damage caused
from that. If you’re picking up a rental car take the extra 15 minutes and
record a thorough video of the whole Thing. Pictures of absolutely anything
that looks potentially like it’s damaged, or scratched, or scuffed, or whatever, so
that when you go back you’ll have all the timestamps on all those pictures
and/or videos and you can say nope nice try look what I got! Proof! Evidence!
Suck it! Suck it. [Laughs] This is yet another one that we don’t have personal experience with but
we have heard these stories. And although we’ve been to many many driving
checkpoints, which at first we’re super intimidating because you pull up and
there’s like tons of armed guys like military guys, or federal police, or
whatever with like machine guns and stuff, and it’s like this whole thing but
those are nothing to worry about at least in our experience. Yeah, after
hundreds of checkpoints the worst thing that has happened to us is we had to
pull over to the side and they asked us questions for about 10 minutes. Yeah, like
the same questions over and over. It was just more annoying than anything. I forgot about that until right now. This next scam has to do with people posing as something that they’re not.
Acting like they are police officers or military, or maybe they’re just claiming
they are but they’re in plain clothes And they don’t have a uniform. We’ve
heard tons of stories like this Thankfully we’ve never actually
experienced this ourselves. I heard one story where it was just outside of the
border And people who created a barricade and
said “hey we need to see your declaration sheet for everything you’re bringing in
the country” and they were searching everything and all this and they asked
for a bribe. They said we’re not gonna Let you leave here unless you give us a
bribe because there wasn’t a stamp on the paper which you need that stamp
basically saying that they were approved to bring all that stuff in. Another one,
there were these two guys claiming that they were with Aduana which is the Mexico
customs. Yeah Mexico customs. Said we need to see your vehicle temporary import
permit which is what gives you the legal Right to drive your car in Mexico, your
foreign car. So he did that and they were Like “you know we need to see your credit
card to verify that you were the one that purchased the import permit” and at
that point it was like “who are you guys exactly?” like “Show me your identification” And it all seemed very sketchy. He ended up getting the paperwork back thankfully,
not giving them the credit card, and driving off, and nothing happened.
So, to me, it seems like if you’re ever in a Situation like this where you feel like
something’s not quite right, maybe call the police if you can to either verify
that they are who they say they are or Get police involved in this. It
is common like when you stop at these military checkpoints or police
checkpoints, they will ask for your Temporary import permit. They want to see
your identification. But I mean, when it Comes to those people who are claiming
to be something but don’t actually have the uniform, or the ID, or the badge
number whatever. Comment below, what would you do? What should you in this type of situation? If you love Mexico and want to watch some more
videos about it, about living this country and traveling around, we
recommend checking out our “Binge Watch Everything” playlist which is going to
be on the end screen here in just a few moments where we’ve made over 250 videos about Mexico and we’re gonna continue making them. So, consider subscribing to our channel to see other videos that we will put out
about Mexico and our life here. One more very important thing, we have to gong the
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