Scam City: Mexico City Edition

scam-city-508ae81f4aa28

scam-city-508ae81f4aa28

I’m a huge fan of Travel & Escape’s TV show Scam City, just like Ben Schlappig from the One Mile at a Time blog. I’ve watched all ten episodes of Scam City which you can find on YouTube or direct streaming from Travel & Escape’s website. It’s very fascinating once you’ve watched at least one of these episodes because it really opens your eyes in the the reality of scams. I was bummed they didn’t have a Paris episode featuring the ring scam, but I hope Season 2 is in the making with more episodes.

One of the biggest scams in Mexico City is the taxi scam. When you land in Mexico City Airport, you have several options as methods of transportation to your hotel. You can ride the MetroBus, Subway Metro (changing lines quite a few times), or take the easy way out which is the Taxi. When you step out of customs to the arrival hall, you will be greeted with various shady men offering you a taxi. You don’t want to take these taxis because they are unauthorized, meaning they can drive you to a desolate area part of town and rob you of all your belongings, leaving you stranded. You need to walk to a trusted kiosk, where you will buy a prepaid taxi voucher for up to $270 MXN depending on which zone your hotel is located. I chose the Sitio 300 Kiosk located by the car rental companies which is the safest authorized taxi option. Remember, you don’t need to tip your driver since the price is all-in.

I recommend using Sitio 300 authorized taxi company

I recommend using Sitio 300 authorized taxi company

The Sitio 300 booth is next to the major Car Rental agencies in MEX Airport

The Sitio 300 booth is next to the major Car Rental agencies in MEX Airport

At restaurants in Mexico City, sometimes bread or breakfast pastries might be served right after you sit down. If you decide to eat the basket of bread or pastries, you will be charged for the consumption at the end of your meal. Always politely decline as this happens often in European cities as well. I wouldn’t be wary of the chips and salsa because that is usually complimentary.

I was charged $13 MXN ~$1 USD for consuming what I thought was free

I was charged $13 MXN ~$1 USD for consuming what I thought was free

I got scammed $13 MXN ~ $1 USD for seemingly complimentary bread I ate, but never ordered

I got scammed $13 MXN ~ $1 USD for bread I ate, but never ordered

Another scam in Mexico City is when you check-in to the hotel and the front desk agent says “Jose will direct you to your room” and takes control of your belongings. Politely decline if you don’t need assistance with your bags and say that you can find the room yourself. The hotel does this to ensure someone in the hotel gets an extra tip. Always decline since they will have a sense of what kind of belongings might be in your bag and sometimes they will offer to help you unpack which you must decline.

You should be vigilant with your belongings when you ride the public metro subway in Mexico City. It is often crowded at times and that means pick-pocketers are at work and I would suggest that you carry your wallet in your front pocket. Ladies should have their handbags and belongings in front of them, not behind.

The Mexico City Metro subway is where pick-pocketers hang out

The Mexico City Metro subway is where pick-pocketers hang out

In the Zona Rosa neighborhood, there are plenty of scam artists working during the night. You will be approached by several males and females asking if you would like a table dance, club, or something else. Always decline because often in these establishments, you will get a shockingly huge bill. Sometimes if you decline their offers, they will follow you so be sure to go to enter some sort of public establishment such as a market or a restaurant.

Zona Rosa neighborhood filled with scam artists in between restaurants and nightlife

Zona Rosa filled with scam artists in between restaurants and nightlife

About the Author

Points Summary
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2 Comments on "Scam City: Mexico City Edition"

  1. Thanks for sharing Jamison! Indeed many practical and useful tips 🙂

    Good spot on the cabs scam, maybe to add, the really scary ones are the pirate cabs. These are cabs which are rented to gang members or criminals, who proceed to rob passengers they pick up. to protect yourself, you would have to take the sitios as you have mentioned and avoid taking cabs at touristy spots. If anyone is heading to Mexico soon, I have compiled a list of travel scams in Mexico too, hope this helps: http://travelscams.org/south-america/common-tourist-scams-mexico/

  2. John S Jenkinson | April 2, 2017 at 4:48 pm | Reply

    Be extremely careful of the EXCELLENT pickpockets on the subway. I had my pocket picked WHILE WEARING JEANS AND CARRYING MY WALLET IN THE FRONT POCKET!! A team will work together; one or two people create a jam so the crowd gets packed in, and you don’t really feel that someone has bumped you BELOW the pocket and pushed the wallet upwards from underneath so that that person, or a team member, can then grab it undetected. I usually carry my (slim) wallet in a breast shirt pocket with a snap closure and a jacket over it. Important stuff stays in a safe or goes in a neck-pouch under my shirt. I think someone would have to knock me out to get it now.

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