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Cancun Authorities Warn Tourists Of New Fake Uber Scam That Could Put Them In Danger

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It seems Cancun's never-ending war on scammers is intensifying once more after reports of fake Uber drivers targeting tourists in central areas started circulating. Now, authorities are urging them to be cautious when booking rides through the popular app, as they could be extorted, or even put their lives in serious danger.

Young Female Traveler Looking Surprised Or Shocked Looking At Her Phone Waiting For Taxi To Arrive

This year, Cancun has taken additional steps to ensure visitors feel safe and enjoy a stress-free vacation in the city, deploying more police units to beach hotspots and increasing surveillance in the Hotel Zone, all the while under the scrutiny of the mass media and the U.S. Government. Naturally, when actual security concerns do arise, tourism officials react swiftly.

For now, you may want to reconsider using rideshare applications in Cancun, where taxi scams are becoming increasingly common:

Scammers In Cancun Are Hacking Into The Uber Platform For Personal Gain

Young Man Using His Phone As He Waits For A Taxi

Following multiple reports online, including a number of TikTok videos where tourists claim to have fallen victim to scammers, the President of the Mexican Association of Travel Agencies confirmed those who use Uber in Mexico ‘could be in danger', as the service remains poorly regulated across the country, and criminals have been known to operate in the field.

Mr. Eduardo Paniagua stated ‘personal safety' is endangered, taking into account Uber's restricted reach in the Mexican Caribbean, attributed to the ongoing resistance of the regional taxi monopoly, has paved the way for scammers to present themselves as drivers, especially in recent months, when fares in Cancun and Tulum began spiraling out of control.

External Area Of Cancun Airport With Authorized Taxis Sign, Cancun, Quintana Roo, Mexico

At present, a large number of taxis are deliberately overcharging tourists or running on inflated fares higher than Manhattan‘s, thus influencing tourists to seek other cheaper alternatives for moving around the zone. Ironically, they are resorting to unlicensed Ubers and putting themselves in danger as a result of the local taxis' own corrupt practices.

Is Lack Of Competition To Blame For The Phenomenon?

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Exterior Area Of Cancun Airport, Terminal 4, Cancun, Mexico

In the words of Travel Noire, the conflict between taxi unions, whose members would like to stave off the competition at all costs, and budget-friendly rideshare apps have led ‘hackers' to clone Uber accounts for illicit purposes. Cancun's beaches may be the most secure (and cleanest) they have ever been, but road safety is a different matter altogether.

Essentially, the aforementioned hackers are cracking into the WhatsApp account of certified drivers and accessing the Uber database to prey on naive passengers. Travel Noire notes that, unless a customer acts carefully, they could be entering an ‘unknown vehicle' driven by someone who has not been inspected nor approved by Uber.

Solo Male Traveler Getting Into A Taxi Or Uber Car As Driver Opens Door For Him, Uber Concept Image

Interestingly, the Government is yet to outline a strategy to combat scammers, in stark contrast with its previous, well-documented, and effective actions to quash crime in tourist spots, after a number of gang-related shootings took the headlines by storm earlier this year.

Comparatively, the lack of competition on the transportation front, and its subsequent effects, are yet to be addressed.

Americans Must Avoid Using Ridesharing Apps In Cancun

Cancun Airport, Shuttle Area, Cancun, Mexico

Customers are being urged to cancel an Uber ride immediately after realizing it could be a scam and reporting any dodgy accounts to the relevant authorities. Booking Ubers, in general, is now strongly discouraged, but in case they decide to take their chances, American tourists must beware of some red flags and keep a high level of situational awareness.

A simple way to spot a fake Uber driver is to pay attention to unnecessary questioning. Drivers do not need to ‘verify' any of your personal details other than perhaps confirming your name, and to an extent, you should never share your own credit card details or other sensitive information either in person or online chats.

Traveler Checking The Uber App During A Uber Ride, Uber Concept Image

Additionally, checking the car plate and that the car matches the description on the booking is, of course, advised. Until the state of Quintana Roo cracks down both on ill-intended drivers, and the loopholes left open amid the fierce opposition of taxi unions to external competition, it's best if you stick to hiring private drivers or booking transportation in advance.

That is particularly true arriving at Cancun Airport, where travelers must walk through the infamous shark tank, or ‘gauntlet', an arrival hall lined with yelling drivers who will do anything to grab your attention, including standing on your way and snapping their fingers.

Passengers Pictured Outside The Cancun Airport International Terminal, Cancun, Mexico

The best way to avoid feeling overwhelmed by this and taken advantage of is, again, to arrange transportation beforehand. Currently, as a result of resisting taxi drivers who rely heavily on the ‘shark tank corridor', there is no Uber service leaving from Cancun Airport.

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Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post.


Christian

Friday 25th of November 2022

Indriver app is very popular in Mexico and I stopped using Uber. Also, as far as I know, ride sharing is prohibited in Quintana Roo. The State government is in bed with the Taxi mafia.

FreeMan

Thursday 24th of November 2022

you should write about the many buses from the airport to town, they are cheap. In addition it is funny to watch the war between the fraudulent taxi monopolists in many countries and Uber who offers a much better service for customers, there is so much propaganda in it. I am avoiding the classic taxis, because I dont want to support them.

Ka

Thursday 24th of November 2022

Seems like authorities are deep in bed with taxi drivers, to always discourage Uber but take....taxis.

Ka

Friday 25th of November 2022

@Ka, btw Uber works very well in Mexico City, so it is a Quintana Roo problem, not a Mexico problem.

Dana

Thursday 24th of November 2022

I was almost kidnapped in an Uber in Medellin colombia. They kept asking me to mark myself safe on the app soon as I get in which I thought was strange. 5 to 10 minutes later he pulled off on a highway ramp and just sat there not telling me anything. The doors were unlocked in the windows for unrolled and he just kept typing someone on Whatsapp. I figured in a matter of minutes someone would drive up and try to Rob or kidnap me. I stay yelling at him in Spanish to drive the car without telling him I knew it was about to happen and luckily it worked! I got dropped off and I wrote over a long message. Soon after I started to feel incredibly dizzy like I was drugged, but I'm not sure how it happened because I have no recollection. You felt like I was walking through quicksand and I could barely lift my arms and legs as I crossed the street. It was a weird feeling and it lasted a day. I'll never know what really happened but I will say be careful when traveling Colombia because it still isn't totally safe! This happened to me in Dec 2020

Steve

Thursday 24th of November 2022

There are too many other warm and SAFE places to travel in this world. Why put your life in danger or worse your family’s life in danger traveling to Mexico? If it’s about saving a few hundred dollars, no one should be going to Mexico anyway. Stay home!

Christian

Friday 25th of November 2022

@Ka, hahaha, I was about to suggest that.

FreeMan

Thursday 24th of November 2022

@Steve, then stay in your home forever. I was in Mexico also and I had a very beautiful time. Millions of tourists have been there and they havent been robbed or killed. Millions of people are living there. Mexico is a beautiful country and offers a lot to visit, in addition it was not so crazy about covid like many other countries. But I see your argument, in a way youre right, you can choose another country. But there are some other countries, that are not that safe Brazil for example. But still Mexico (and Brazil) has a lot to offer.

Ka

Thursday 24th of November 2022

@Steve, stay home with mask on

Kashlee Kucheran

Thursday 24th of November 2022

I chose to move from Canada to Mexico 4 years ago and it was the best decision I've ever made! I find it to be exceptionally safe, especially for foreigners. I've even moved my senior parents in their 70's down here and they couldn't agree more.