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Costco scammers nabbed

November 9, 2012

Four women from Mexico City came before a judge in Guadalajara this week, accused of robbing customers of the Costco store across from Plaza Galerias.

The accused were caught on CCTV blocking off a shopper with their trolleys as a distraction and then pickpocketing her purse. The thieves were then apprehended by security, in possession of the purse, which contained 7,300 pesos and three credit cards.

The intersection of Avendia Vallarta and Rafael Sanzio, home to branches of Wall-Mart, Costco and the Galerias shopping mall, is a notorious haunt for scam artists preying on unsuspecting shoppers – with foreigners often the targets.

For years, pickpockets have pulled the “mustard as bird poop” scam, in which one person squirts mustard on the victim’s back, only for another to apparently come to their aid, wiping the fake feces off their clothes while simultaneously nabbing their wallet.

Another common scam to watch out for involves sellers offering women samples of discounted perfume. When the victim sniffs the substance (usually chloroform or a similar agent), they are knocked unconscious and the assailants make off with their belongings.

The next time you go shopping in these big stores remember it pays to keep your wits about you. Try to stay in small groups, hide your credit cards and most of your cash on your person, and refuse free samples unless standing at the perfume counter.

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