Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp cover 40 percent of fraud for the sale of vacation packages, which corresponds to 53 of 130 of these crimes committed so far this year, as reported by the Federal Consumer Attorney’s Office (Profeco).
The others 77 fraudulent links detected by the agency refer to Internet pages. Of the total represented by deceptions by internet pages and social networks, 75 percent are presented to consumers as Travel agencies to extract money and carry out scams.
During the Invitation to Buy conference with the Agencies Registered in the National Tourism Registry (RNT), organized by the Secretary of Tourism (Sectur), Profeco’s deputy attorney for services, Surit Berenice Romero, explained that so far this year it has received 18 thousand complaints from the tourism sector.
Of the total number of complaints, 40 percent belongs to online shopping and, of this percentage, 8 percent to the sale of vacation packages by “ghost” agencies, as Romero named them.
The deputy attorney of the body in charge of ensuring consumer rights celebrated that, in the same period, 23 of the links posing as travel agencies have already been terminated.
“We have been in communication with the Meta platform, because the main means where fraud is committed are Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp, so that it requests the minimum requirements established by the Federal Consumer Law to businesses that want to advertise through their marketplace section,” explained Berenice Romero.
In this sense, the Profeco representative said that Meta and its owner, businessman Mark Zuckerberg, who assured that there has been no success in terms of the complaints that have been made to these social networks for the management of their sales section.
Recommendations to avoid falling for fraud in social networks
Surit Romero pointed out that they found that fraudulent travel agencies usually put very low prices, “almost unrealistic”, which often make the consumer act on impulse when seeing such an attractive offer.
For this reason, the Profeco deputy attorney recommended that:
- Consumers analyze the offer, as well as check the red flags as it may be that the “agency” disable comments on your posts
- Request payment through convenience stores
- Do not provide your information such as the address of the facilities, telephone number, as well as the business name of said business.
He emphasized that to plan a vacation it is better to go to one of the 9,814 travel agencies registered in the National Tourism Registry (RNT) before buying a package through social networks; indicated that they are the only ones authorized to integrate and market excursion packages that meet the expectations of a more demanding and informed tourist.
“Buying through social networks is like buying an appliance at a traffic light,” he concluded.