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Tourists are being targeted by fraudsters. Tourists are being targeted by fraudsters.

Mexico intends to clamp down on fraudulent vacation clubs, timeshares

Financial Intelligence Unit to conduct a review

The federal government is taking steps to combat fraudulent conduct in the tourism industry.

According to the tourism news website Reportur, the tourism committee of the federal Congress and the government’s Financial Intelligence Unit (UIF) will collaborate on a scheme designed to crack down on scams committed against people seeking to travel to destinations such as Quintana Roo, Baja California, Nayarit, Jalisco and Mexico City.

One of the main concerns discussed at a meeting between tourism committee president Luis Alegre Salazar and UIF chief Santiago Nieto was call centers that attempt to defraud potential tourists in the key markets of Canada and the United States.

Reportur said they operate as shell companies and that their detection is very difficult as a result.

In that context, Alegre asked Nieto to carry out a nationwide review to determine which companies are operating legally in the tourism sector and which are not.

He also asked the UIF chief to carry out an investigation into travel agencies that operate exclusively online, including those on social media sites such as Facebook, saying many are fraudulent.

Reportur said that in recent months, shell companies have swindled people selling vacation club memberships and timeshares by offering to purchase them and resell them at elevated prices. However, the fraudsters ask for a deposit of between US $4,000 and $6,000 to complete the paperwork for the sale.

The federal consumer protection agency (Profeco) issued an alert about the practice last year.

The online travel agency Expedia has also warned that fraudsters have passed themselves off as its employees to try to scam consumers by selling them non-existent tourism products. People in 17 Mexican states as well as Canada have been swindled to the tune of US $10,000, Reportur said.

Source: Reportur (sp) 

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