UK updates travel alert for Mexico

Drug-related violence, it warns, has increased in recent years, and it says it is concentrated in specific areas, although in some regions there are almost none. The English authority emphasizes that the local population, visitors and foreign residents can be targets of fraud.

UK issues travel advisory for Mexico. Photo: Paul Sullivan via Flickr
UK issues travel advisory for Mexico. Photo: Paul Sullivan via Flickr

"Beware of strangers approaching or contacting you by phone to ask for personal information or financial assistance. If you, family or friends are asked to transfer money to Mexico, make sure you are not part of a scam," the alert states.

It explains that the most common fraud is when criminals call on the phone, act as a distraught family member of the person they are contacting, or by an employee claiming to be kidnapped and demanding money for his or her release.

"Offenders may also mislead the family, assuring them that their relative is being detained. If they threaten you on the phone, the recommendation is to hang up and check on the safety of your relative or employee," he adds.

The UK government adds that some tourists have reported that some elements of the police have extorted money from them for alleged misdemeanors or traffic offenses.

"Travellers who drive rental cars have also been extorted. If this happens, do not hand over money or your passport, ask for the officer's name, credentials and patrol car number and request a copy of the fine in writing, which will be paid at a later date," he notes.

In the case of kidnapping, he explains that there is a so-called "express kidnapping" particularly in urban areas, in which victims are forced to withdraw money from credit or debit cards at an ATM in order to secure their release.

"Long-term kidnappings also occur for financial gain. There have been reports of police officers being involved. Be discreet when talking about your financial or business affairs in places where others can hear you," he suggests.

Regarding organized crime, the British government also specifies that several gang members are suspected of being killed in turf wars between the same organizations, which compete for control of drug trafficking routes into the United States.

Drug-related violence, it adds, is a problem particular to the northern states of Mexico: Sonora, Chihuahua, Coahuila, Nuevo Leon, Tamaulipas, Sinaloa, and Durango.

Precautions are also called for in Baja California, specifically Tijuana; Baja California Sur, including Los Cabos, where there has been an increase in drug-related crime.

He urged caution when traveling to Ciudad Juárez and that family or friends should be informed of the plans when moving and that reputable hotel should be used.

The British government also warns about violence in Guerrero, Veracruz, Tabasco, Oaxaca, Chiapas, Jalisco and Michoacán.

By Mexicanist Source Gov.uk