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Again, Texas warned against travel to Mexico
"“Mexico strongly disagrees with the assessment made by Texan officials regarding travel to Mexico in general. As their number one trading partner and largest export market, Mexico believes Texas should be able to more objectively evaluate facts, providing nuance and context, and in doing so, dispel the notion that their motivation is a clear-cut political agenda.”

Read more here: Texas warns on Spring Break travel | Mexico Unmasked
 

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People north of the border have a greatly exaggerated view of the dangers in Mexico, except for certain places. I think part of this is the desire by US press to sensationalize any crime that does happen.

My wife took the bus yesterday from rural Puebla to Reynosa, and is now in our mobile home. She does this several times a year.

Yet, our daughter asked her this time to take a plane from DF to Brownsville, which would involve my wife waiting all afternoon until dau. got off work at 4 pm. When she refused this dubious honor, dau, was so upset she couldn't talk for a minute.

Nice sleeper bus. Nice tranquil trip. Yet, dau. assumes we are going to die.
 

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Error correction

Actually, she took a direct bus into TAPO, then a taxi to our house for an hour to deliver some stuff, than to Norte to the direct Ave bus to Reynosa.
 

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It is rumored that there was an attempt to give Texas back to Mexico, but they turned it down.
Hi RVGrngo,
I could not figure out how to make the following a new post. If you can move it I am fine with you placing this info as a new post. Thanks

United States Consulate General Guadalajara
PLEASE CIRCULATE THIS IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT TO
AS MANY AMERICAN CITIZENS AS POSSIBLE
Security Message for U.S. Citizens:
Virtual Kidnappings
Date: March 7, 2012

BEGIN TEXT.

This security message is being sent to alert U.S. citizens residing or traveling in Mexico about a scam involving telephonic kidnapping threats. There have been numerous cases reported involving U.S. families living in Mexico as well as among the ex-pat community where family members in the U.S. have been called and told their loved one in Mexico has been kidnapped. Due to the pervasiveness of these scams, it is important to be aware of how they work and what can be done to stop them.

Usually the scam starts with the collection of information about the family. Someone may call the home and pretend to be a salesman, friend, businessman, pastor, etc. The caller will use the information collected during this call to convince the family that someone has actually been kidnapped when he calls back days or weeks later. In addition to telephone calls, email and social media sites are used by the criminals to collect information on the victims.

When the virtual kidnapping call is made, it often begins with a crying/ pleading voice immediately after the call is answered and before the "kidnapper" gets on the phone. In this manner, they hope to confuse the family and get them to give additional important information. The voice of the "victim" will usually be crying and/or hysterical – this makes it difficult to identify and increases the likelihood that you will believe it is in fact your loved one.
Criminals will try to use fear, tact and timing against you. For example, they plan their calls to coincide with times when it will be difficult to contact the child or another adult immediately (e.g. when child is either on their way to or from school). All calls demand money for the release of the loved one and stipulate no police involvement. Often times the callers will give statements to suggest surveillance such as: "we saw you at the school with your camioneta". Very vague but implying they have been watching your family and using fear and everyday routines against you to reinforce the threat of the kidnapping. They will also impart a sense of great urgency. For example, their initial demand maybe for some outrageous amount of money, but then they will "negotiate" and ask how much you have access to right now.

In order to reduce the chances that you will be targeted and know how to respond if you are, please carefully review the tips and best practices we've listed below.
To reduce the likelihood of being targeted by virtual kidnappers, follow these best practices:
• Never give out information over the phone and instruct all family members and domestic staff to do the same.
• Limit the personal information that is posted on social media sites and use the privacy settings to limit the number of people who can see your information.
• Do not accept "friend requests" on social media from people you don't know well – remember a casual acquaintance may use his/her access to collect your information for nefarious purposes.
If you become the target of one of these calls, here are some important tips to remember:
• If you definitely know the call is a hoax simply hang up.
• Remain calm. Remember, the vast majority of these calls are hoaxes. Whether done as a prank or an attempt to extort money from you, the perpetrators are attempting to exploit your fears.
• If you have caller ID, write down the number.
• Do not tell the caller where you live or agree to any money transfer. Never volunteer information.
• Ask to speak to your child to confirm his/her identity. This will foil the majority of these calls as the virtual kidnapper only has the upper hand as long as you believe that he/she really has your loved one. Don't be afraid to challenge them "what is my child's name?"
• If the caller refuses to let you speak with your child and stays on the line (many will hang up at the first sign of stubbornness), ask the caller to ask your child something that is known only to your family. You can work out a secret word or phrase (e.g. favorite toy, pet name, first grade teacher's name, etc.) to test for identifying a family member.
• If the caller can answer the question, but does not let you speak with your child, this may be an "inside job" and they still may not have your loved one in their custody.
In the event you cannot locate your child after the caller has successfully answered the question, the caller actually puts your loved one on the line or you otherwise have reason to believe the kidnapping is real, it is very important that you attempt to do the following:
• Contact the state PGJE office (equivalent to Attorney General's office) of the Mexican state you are in (Jalisco: 33 3837 6000; Colima: 31 2312 7910; Aguascalientes: 44 9910 2800; Nayarit: 31 1129 6000). Ask to speak with the group or officer that handles kidnappings. Some Mexican states, such as Jalisco, have formal Anti-Kidnapping Units.
• Contact the US Consulate in Guadalajara and ask to speak with the Legal Attache. If the situation arises after normal business hours, ask to speak with the Duty Officer.
• Listen and take notes of the demands, tone or accent of the caller, background noise, and any other important information that could assist the authorities.
• Ask for a way to make contact with the caller. If they refuse to answer, ask when they will call again.

Additional information about international financial scams is available on the State Department's website.

The U.S. Consulate General in Guadalajara is located at 175 Progreso Street, Col. Americana, Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico. The U.S. Consulate General in Guadalajara's telephone number is 011 52 33 3268 2100; the fax number is 011 52 33 3825 1951. For after-hours emergencies, please call 011 52 33 3268 2145.
The U.S. Consular Agency in Puerto Vallarta is located at Paseo de los Cocoteros #85; Sur Paradise Plaza, Interior Local L-7, Nuevo Vallarta, Nayarit, C.P. 63732. The U.S. Consular Agency in Puerto Vallarta's telephone numbers are 011 52 322 222 0069 & 011 52 322 223 3301; the fax number is 011 52 322 223 0074. For after-hours emergencies, please call 011 52 33 3268 2145.
END OF TEXT.

U.S. Consulate General Guadalajara
Home | Consulate General of the United States Guadalajara, Mexico
The Consulate office hours are Monday through Friday
from 08:00 a.m. to 04:30 p.m. (except for Mexican and U.S. holidays).
 

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I can't move anything. But, why did you want to post that thing? If you trip on a cobblestone in Mexico, the US will post a 'danger' notice. Please don't encourage them.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I can't move anything. But, why did you want to post that thing? If you trip on a cobblestone in Mexico, the US will post a 'danger' notice. Please don't encourage them.
You know, first I thought that was a stupid post, but in retrospect, the US does not alert its expatriates enough, aside from that particular post that is almost impossible to find.

Mexicans with money, and also any expatriate working here do not give a **** about getting killed by narco terrorists. ALL fear to have a loved one kidnapped for ransom.

That is the truth about living here, not just casually visiting, which in 99.99 percent of cases will not affect you.
 

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I can't move anything. But, why did you want to post that thing? If you trip on a cobblestone in Mexico, the US will post a 'danger' notice. Please don't encourage them.
:confused: I did not mean to encourage anything neg. But still being stateside I hear so many neg possiblties that can happen to Americans in Mexico I thought this would be a bit more neural and balanced and show there is a differece between a scam and those 'alerts'.
 

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The terms "neutral and balanced" and "US State Department" are polar opposites. People living NoB tend to believe the sensationalist media and government warnings. Those of us living here who practice basic caution and street smarts consider them exaggerated bulls***.
 

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Lady George, I happen to know that is true, because it happens to the Mexican families themselves.

Several years ago, my brother-in-law in Mexico got such a call, telling him his daughter, who is actually an important political person (she was not on that helicopter which crashed some months ago, only because she had been up all night preparing for the trip) had been kidnapped. And, if he did not buy considerable phone time for a given phone number, bad things would be done to her.

He called her work number and she did not answer, so he ran out and paid the time.

Which is why you are now required to have solid identification linked to your cell phone.

Usually, these callers are in prison and need time on their cell phones to run their drug businesses.

We live not far from a state prison, and my wife got such a call several years ago. She was all panicky. I told her to forget about it, tell them to come get me.
 

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The terms "neutral and balanced" and "US State Department" are polar opposites. People living NoB tend to believe the sensationalist media and government warnings. Those of us living here who practice basic caution and street smarts consider them exaggerated bulls***.
Hey Grizzy, I have to agree with you however this may, at the very least, be a consideration for anyone recieving such a call.
 

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At first I agreed with RV - why post such a thing - but in retrospect, I feel that this is place to post it. Why?

• It encourages discussion by those on the ground for those of us participating.
• It encourages civil discourse, even in disagreement.

I read the thing, thought, "Hey, this could happen anywhere" and gave me some info and ideas I didn't know.

We here are all open minded enough to read stuff - and then agree or disagree. That post was not yelling FIRE! in a theater, and I am glad you posted it.
 

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Once you have lived in Mexico for a while, you may appreciate our disgust at many of the consular warnings. We get all of them and they are almost always vague, exaggerated and designed to keep people from spending money outside of the USA. They instill unreasonable fear in travelers and are destroying Mexican tourism. It is so very sad to watch business after business fail for lack of tourist customers.
 

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Once you have lived in Mexico for a while, you may appreciate our disgust at many of the consular warnings. We get all of them and they are almost always vague, exaggerated and designed to keep people from spending money outside of the USA. They instill unreasonable fear in travelers and are destroying Mexican tourism. It is so very sad to watch business after business fail for lack of tourist customers.
RV: You are correct, it must be disheartening. My point was just that it is good for us to see what is being said, and then have intelligent discussion on it. Yes, I can remember a period years ago when all foreign tourism was openly discouraged by the USA to keep the money "at home", maybe this is why too many USAers are so lacking in their knowledge of the world.

Question: why are there more Chinese students doing study abroad in the USA while USA students are not really encouraged to study abroad at all - what do the Chinese know about the value of that that the USA does not.
 

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The post on kidnapping had many fine points that can be applied to different situations.

People all over the world have to contend with situations that could benefit from the precautions stated.

One common situation is where elderly people get phoned (not always elderly) with someone pretending to be a grandson or younger relative and saying that they have been arrested (or a similar situation) for some particular reason and need money immediately forwarded to them by Western Union (or some other means) for bail money (or a lawyer, etc.)

One of the suggestions given in the post was to ask them questions about the family that only a true relative would know. If they know nothing else except your name and call you grandma you know you should hang up.

So good post in that it can be used in a general way to thwart scams involving relatives that are going on in every country in the world at the present time.

Simply google scams involving elderly people and people pretending to be relatives.
 

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... One common situation is where elderly people get phoned (not always elderly) with someone pretending to be a grandson or younger relative and saying that they have been arrested (or a similar situation) for some particular reason and need money immediately forwarded to them by Western Union (or some other means) for bail money (or a lawyer, etc.) ...
That also occurs as an email scam. You get an email from a friend or relative that says they are traveling and need money because their wallet was stolen or some other mishap. It just means that their email address or computer has been hacked.
 

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Yes, the email version of the scam is very common.

As for the fear mongering articles and posts, some say it's best not to respond, as the more hits (the news source ?) gets, the more money they get. But I can't usually resist pointing out the truth. The systematic deceit regarding safe parts of Mexico costs jobs, and causes more Mexicans to go to USA to work. Those terrible articles are a horrible way to reward Mexico for co-operating on the "war on drugs".
 

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Again, Texas warned against travel to Mexico
"“Mexico strongly disagrees with the assessment made by Texan officials regarding travel to Mexico in general. As their number one trading partner and largest export market, Mexico believes Texas should be able to more objectively evaluate facts, providing nuance and context, and in doing so, dispel the notion that their motivation is a clear-cut political agenda.”

Read more here: Texas warns on Spring Break travel | Mexico Unmasked

I believe the warning in this particular instance is justified. I am from Texas and the warning is intended for kids going on Spring Break. Most students from Texas usually cross the border on foot or by vehicle to the border towns. As long as the Zetas are controlling most of the border towns, it is extremely dangerous to "go party" across the border. While Puerto Vallarta remains one of the safest beach destinations, unless you are from a cruise ship and go on a jungle tour in Nogalito, and so does Cancun, unless you are one of the unlucky ones that gets caught in the nightclub shooting crossfire, Acapulco virtually remains void of any NOB vacationers. I was there in December and it was eerie.
I guess my point is simple. While those of us that live in Mexico realize that many of the NOB media stories and posts are blown out of proportion, we should always keep our wits, observations and diligence concerning our personal security.
 

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Once you have lived in Mexico for a while, you may appreciate our disgust at many of the consular warnings. We get all of them and they are almost always vague, exaggerated and designed to keep people from spending money outside of the USA. They instill unreasonable fear in travelers and are destroying Mexican tourism. It is so very sad to watch business after business fail for lack of tourist customers.

After living away from the "nanny state" for a while you learn to disregard a lot of that which you consider useless or just plain fear mongering.

For example I spent today driving to Guad via Cajititlan, Tlajomulco and Zapopan. My return route passed most of the intersections the US Consulate sent a warning out about being dangerous narco blockades. My friend and I saw nothing. NO burning vehicles, no gunfights, no blockades. And when we compared the timing of twitter reports of the sky falling, the embassy release of the warning and our journey we just scratched out heads.

Clearly something must have gone down in Guad, rumour is one of the Sinaloa Cartel bosses was shot but reading the embassy warning it sounded like world war 3.

We passed a very calm polite police blockade above Chapala Haciendas and that was it. So was it all hell breaking loose narco violence or someone being "Mother" and warning expat americans about every little rumour? Who knows. But as I said, I was there, I drove it and I saw nothing but blue skies and a perfect sunset.

Many thousands of people sitting at home NoB are going to see this warning and decide Guad is a hotbed of violence. :confused2:
 

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...Clearly something must have gone down in Guad, rumour is one of the Sinaloa Cartel bosses was shot but reading the embassy warning it sounded like world war 3. ...
From the news media:
The government captured the #1 and #2 bosses of the Nueva Generación cartel about midday on Friday. Presumably in response, the cartel blocked 16 streets in various locations in and around Guadalajara and burned a lot of vehicles, 25 according to one account (El Informador), 45 according to another (El Milenio). Many of the burned vehicles were buses. The passengers were allowed to disembark first. The two nearest incidents to where I live were about 1 km away, one north of my house and one south. Reports are that two people died. I haven't seen a clear statement about who they were.
 
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