Don’t Get Scammed by a Staged Accident While Driving in Mexico
A troubling recent scam trend is emerging in Baja and Rocky Point for staging accidents or asking for the auto insurance documents of foreign drivers to defraud of money. The experts at Sanborn’s Mexico Car Insurance have tips for how to avoid this scam and what to do if you find yourself involved in such a defrauding attempt.
According to recent reports, these scams are on the rise and are targeting those who are traveling in Baja and Rocky Point – although it can happen anywhere, including the U.S. Remember, to legally drive your vehicle into Mexico from the U.S., you must first purchase Mexican car insurance. Let’s look at these recent cases and get some advice from Sanborn’s on what to do.
Case #1: Driving near Rosarito in Baja, a U.S. citizen was the victim of a staged accident when a car suddenly swerved in front of them and slammed on their brakes, causing the U.S. driver to hit them from behind. The “victims” asked the visiting driver for his insurance documents and then pretended to call the insurance company from a cell phone. He handed his phone to the U.S. citizen who heard someone on the other end claiming to be from his insurance company and denying the claim. This voice on the phone recommended he just pay the victim an amount equal to the victim’s insurance deductible. This voice also told the U.S. driver not to call again or his policy would be cancelled. In this case, it was $31,000 pesos (roughly $1,722 U.S.). Since most people don’t carry that type of cash, the “victim” offered to take the U.S. driver to an ATM, while the man’s wife stayed behind with the passenger. The driver of the car that was hit proceeded to take the U.S. citizen back over the border to access an ATM in the U.S., while his wife stayed behind in Mexico with an accomplice!
This story may sound unbelievable, but it really happened. There are several points along the way where the U.S. driver should have recognized red flags and taken a different course of action. Let’s look:
Red Flag #1: Being asked to give a stranger your insurance documents then talk to “your” insurance company on their phone.
Red Flag #2: Being told “your” insurance company will cancel “your” policy if you call them.
Red Flag #3: An offer to accompany you to an ATM to withdraw funds.
You may be laughing while reading this and believe you would never fall for anything so obviously fake. But when you are a driver in a foreign country, especially someone who is new to driving in Mexico, and something like this happens to you, you really don’t know how you would react.
Case #2: A visiting U.S. citizen was driving in Rocky Point when another driver (with U.S. license plates) attempted to stage an accident. The accident was avoided but the visitor was harassed and followed until he made his way to a police station, at which point the other driver left.
In this case, an accident was fortunately avoided, but the lesson is to know where you can go if you need to drive to a police station.
What to do Instead
The professionals at Sanborn have these tips for those who drive into Mexico:
If you are involved in an accident (even one that appears staged) involving a third party, while driving in Mexico report the claim, contact your insurance company yourself immediately. Don’t let someone else have your documents and/or call for you.
· Stay Calm
· Do not leave the scene until an adjuster arrives.
· Do not discuss the accident, admit liability, or talk about who is at fault.
· Do not make or receive payment.
In some cases, once you refuse to engage, the other party may flee the scene. Get the license plate number and wait for the adjuster.
Tips for Driving in Mexico
Luckily, for most people who drive into Mexico, their trip will be all fiesta and fun. Incidents like these are rare. It’s always best to be prepared, however, when going to a foreign country. Keep in mind these tips when visiting Mexico:
· Always have an active Mexico Insurance policy.
· Don’t drive at night.
· Be aware of your surroundings and road conditions.
· Be prepared to pay for toll roads in pesos.
· Have a lot of fun but be careful of too much fiesta.
· Don’t carry a lot of cash and don’t flash cash around.
· Try to always pay in pesos.
· Don’t wear expensive jewelry and watches.
Sanborn’s has Affordable Car Insurance
When driving into Mexico, you’ll need to buy Mexican car insurance. Your U.S. insurance is not recognized across the border. Besides great rates, Sanborn’s Mexico Car Insurance has some great tips for adventure seekers to the south and the convenience of purchasing your insurance online prior to your trip. Read our blog to find out even more of the information you need. Sanborn’s has more than 75 years of paving the way for Americans traveling to Mexico.
You can get a quick quote for car insurance online or call 800-222-0158. We also have offices all along the border in California, Arizona and Texas, so regardless of where you are crossing, you can stop in and get everything you need with an agent’s help. Visit with us today!