The old custom house scam is alive and well at airports

Judicial agents say that at least 70 individuals, most of them in business, have fallen for the old aduana scam.

That’s the fraud where a crook claims to have valuable merchandise tied up in the customs warehouse and offers to sell the items at a cut rate.

The offered products have ranged from cell telephones to bars of copper, said judicial agents.

Of course, there is no merchandise, and agents suspect that a gang of some 32 persons have been playing the scam on persons in San Carlos, Guanacaste, Cartago and in other parts of the country. The scene of the scam is an international airport, mostly Juan SantamarĂ­a in Alajuela.

These crooks have taken the scam one step further. If in the process of stealing from a business person, the victim realizes that he is being scammed, the crooks are likely to pull out weapons and convert the crime into a robbery, said agents.

Scams like this have been going on ever since there were customs houses or aduanas. But the crooks manage to contact by telephone persons whose desire for cheap products overrides what they may have learned in the past.

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