Monday, September 17, 2007

Teaching in Cancun? Don't Fall for the Latin Fantasy Tourist Scam



It’s the weekend and you’re off from teaching English as a foreign language classes at one of the many private English language institutes, local or nearby primary or secondary schools. You could just as well be any other foreign tourist in town to enjoy the sights, the food and the beaches.

In any case, they’re WAITING for you.

So here’s how NOT to get caught!
Strolling down a sunlit street in Cancun, Mexico (or possibly another Mexican beach resort town), a sea breeze gently tossing your hair, window-shopping in a luxurious mall, passing along a beachfront boardwalk, day-dreaming of fresh, succulent seafood as its aroma wafts from a nearby restaurant.

“Excuse me”, you hear. You stop and turn to see a smiling face.

“Where are you from?”

“I’m from …”, you respond politely. You've just driven the first nail into your coffin. You've confirmed that you're a foreigner.

“How’s your vacation?”, the smiling face continues. You exchange pleasantries.

“Can I offer you a free pass…a night’s stay…a free lunch or dinner…a day at this new resort hotel?”, the smiling face offers.

“It’s to promote a new hotel, …resort…facility…or service that isn’t well-known to foreign tourists yet. And we want our hotel…facility…resort…or service to be known so you can tell your friends about it.”

You receive a genuine-looking piece of paper and perhaps a brochure and map. (somewhere in the back of your mind, your parent’s words- or mine- appear,

“There ain’t no free lunches in this world”) But, “Looks good”, you think, and accept.

“Take this and go this afternoon…tomorrow or whatever and everything will be taken care of with no obligation”, the hook advances.

And then the clincher words strike home, like a harpoon in the side of a great white whale,

“Be sure to bring your credit card!”

“Oh, it’s not essential”, the smiling face continues,
“Maybe you’ll just have to flash it, to show you’re not Mexican”, “…or a serious tourist”, or whatever.

At this point BAIL OUT – drop everything and leave – go, keep going and don’t listen or look back. If you don’t, you’ll be sorry – for years and years to come.

What they want is your credit card number, by any means necessary - your signature too, if possible, on anything; a ticket stub, free car rental agreement or thank you note; anything. It’ll be used to charge dozens, scores, even hundreds of items – next week, next month, next year, etc., etc., etc. Getting the charges off your card will be a next to impossible nightmare and cost you hundreds in legal fees. You won’t be able to get back at “them” or recover the merchandise, products, even real estate charged off to your account. Millions are made by “them” and irretrievably lost by unsuspecting tourists each year.

Don’t YOU be next! Just say, “NO”. And keep saying “NO”.

FINALLY …, Some helpful websites for more information /
Provides more than 100 hotels to reserve, airfare, coupons, maps, tours reservations, nightlife, restaurants and other general information. /
An online Travel Guide For Cancun And The Mayan Riviera /
All About Cancun helps travelers seeking information about Cancun including a complete City Guide
Includes details of local activities, accommodations, dining, shopping and other information for visitors.

Prof. Larry M. Lynch is an English language teaching and learning expert author and university professor in Cali, Colombia. Now YOU too can live your dreams in paradise, find romance, high adventure and get paid while travelling for free. For more information on entering or advancing in the fascinating field of teaching English as a Foreign or Second Language send for his no-cost pdf Ebook, “If You Want to Teach English Abroad, Here’s What You Need to Know”, by sending an e-mail with "free ELT Ebook" in the subject line. For comments, questions, requests, to receive more information or to be added to his free TESOL articles and teaching materials mailing list, e-mail:

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