Costa Rica News – With what happened to Canadian Brad Deering in Costa Rica last week this topic should hit home. Recently, an investigator published an article regarding an interesting case. He found that in a case where squatters were demanding money before they would leave. Police and lawyers were cooperating with squatters to take part of the money collected from the actual homeowner.
Instead of going through the lengthy legal process to remove the squatters, the owner broke into his own home (the locks were changed) and made a small payout. How can you avoid this scam happening to you? What other corrupt scams must you be aware of?
At some point, you may need to leave your home unattended. Normally you will come back from vacation to a home exactly as you left it, but if you are leaving for a long time take some precautionary measures. Hire a management company to take care of paying bills, doing repairs, and keeping squatters out. Install a security system that you can manage and can view the cameras over the internet. If someone does move in, obtain your title copy from the Registro Nacional and contact local police and OIJ for help.
Most likely the OIJ is a better option as local police probably be involved with the scam and just try to make sure you offer them a little bit of cash to pretend to do their job. Who knows maybe you will get the the 1 out of every 100 police that is not corrupt in Costa Rica.
Some other corrupt happenings to watch out for:
*Avoid hiring “working girls.” If you must hire a prostitute please be aware that while you’re in the bathroom your wallet and suitcases will be looked through and some things will go missing. Only keep as much money on you as you do not mind getting stolen.
*If you have a car accident, stay in your car unless it is on fire or leaking fluids. Some people create car accidents with stolen cars in order to rob the contents of a nice looking car. Be aware that they may throw bricks at your car to scare you to get out. Always have a cell phone on you and call the police immediately. Also call a friend so someone knows where you are and that you are in trouble. Use facebook to quickly find a nearby friend.
*Buying drugs is generally unsafe anywhere. There is a new scam happening in San Jose where someone will sell drugs to a tourist and then people in police uniforms show up and make a “deal” to get out of going to jail. The tourist goes to an ATM and is forced to withdraw a lot of money.
Most “estafas,” or scams, can be avoided by simply avoiding shady areas and activities, not leaving your property unattended for long periods, having a cell phone ready at all times, and not carrying visible valuables.