Cancun, Q.R. — Five online travel agencies around Mexico have been disabled from offering services for Cancun and Riviera Maya due to fraudulent activity.
The announcement came from la Secretaría de Turismo Estatal de Quintana Roo after numerous consumer complaints lead them to the discovery. The Secretary of Tourism for the state says that they have at least 18 documented cases with proof of companies offering travel services to Quintana Roo they do not fulfill.
She also says that a majority of the fraudulent activity has been detected through the platform, Guest Assist.
Secretary of Tourism, Marisol Vanegas explained “At least five companies have been detected and dismantled. No state, no secretariat had ventured to make a collective complaint to la Fiscalía General de la República.”
She says that sale of the Quintana Roo travel packages are done online with companies located in various parts of the republic, but when the tourist arrives in Quintana Roo, there are no reservations or tours for them.
Vanegas acknowledged that it is very difficult to locate these types of companies because they are constantly changing their name and location, adding that every few days they move to a different destination and work with databases purchased illegally, making it difficult to track them.
She said that the companies offering the travel packages simply say Trips to Cancun or another destination in the country.
Although there are only 18 complete files with documentation proving the scam, about 180 cases of fraud have been identified in an amount in excess of 4 billion peso. She added that there is a national security feature where travel agencies are associated with AMAV (La Asociación Mexicana de Agencias de Viajes) for tourists to verify the purchases they are making.
Marketing Director of Cancun Travel Agency, Carlos Patiño, says the consumer complaints are up this year regarding fraud by ghost travel agencies, a situation that worsens during holiday seasons. He explained that one of the companies with the most fraudulent complaints is Escápate a la Riviera Maya, however, there are many others using generic names to commit fraud.
He explained that these companies ask people to make a deposit, even in convenience stores, adding that it is very difficult to track them because banks do not give information about their customers.
For the first time in the state’s history, a collective complaint has been filed by la Secretaría de Turismo Estatal de Quintana Roo before la Fiscalía General de la República (FGR) regarding the fraudulent travel company scams.