Although many of us know the the scams being run from Costa Rica in the 20th century – Sweepstakes, real estate, crypto currency, investing….the list goes on and on….there were actually a lot done during the 19th century as well. Most likely if you are getting a call saying you won the lottery and that you just need to send money to insure the package……that call is coming from some douche-bag in Costa Rica.
We often think of earlier times as pleasant, perfect even, however, those who lived in Costa Rica’s central valley in the late 1800s were not free from scams.
Costa Rica underwent a modernization that brought with it fraudulent practices in various commercial matters. The written press published cases of individuals and schemes benefiting illegally. Here are some of the scams dealt with in the late nineteenth century.
The lottery was created to raise funds to create a building to receive and treat the mentally ill. It became a target and some sold tickets that were already expired while others falsified the numbers to appear winners.
Local beer production was growing and fraudsters both stole and copied labels. The public was warned to buy Irazú beer only from the factory or agency directly as labels were stolen and beers composed of drugs and harmful substances were being sold with them.
Counterfeit paper money was confiscated. Checks were forged. In one case, someone from an honorable and rich family exchanged a check for 3,000 pesos and took the railroad to Limon. The amount of the check generated suspicion and it was found that the signature was false. The Governor of Limón was alerted and the scammer captured when he arrived in the Caribbean.