How the scam works:
You are trying to buy some nice souvenirs in beautiful Mexico and find yourself in small talk with somebody who also seems to be a tourist. He will advise you about several fakes around, such as cheap quality Mayan statues made in China.
What he will recommend as the perfect souvenir place is the shop located two doors down. “It’s a non-profit shop. They donate half of the proceeds to Red Cross Mexico, and the other half they use to keep the shop going. I bought a few items already for my family – my mom will love it. Go check it out, they are only open Mondays and Thursdays”.
In reality, the shop he talks about is just another overpriced store, whose owner will give him a few Pesos for his referral, as he is a friend bringing in tourists to buy.
How to avoid:
This scam is not going to leave you without your lifetime savings, but it’s certainly something to keep in mind. If somebody approaches you with this “non-profit” speech, keep in mind smaller items wouldn’t necessarily be more expensive in other places. keep your eyes on the bigger purchases, especially if they come with “Only Today” or “Half-Price for You” offers.
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