When you travel, do you use a cab to get around? Do you often ask locals for travel advice? If you do, be aware that scammers and pickpockets are great at using seemingly normal occurrences to their advantage – and your misfortune. Here are a few travel scams and how you can keep from falling victim.
The Cabby that Grabs: Don’t lose your luggage to a thief. In some locations, cabbies have been known to purposely speed away with a bag or two if you pay before getting out of the car. Solution: Only pay the driver once every bag you have is out of the vehicle.
Credit Card Scams: Beware of pizza flyers placed under your hotel door or the “front desk” calling to verify your credit card. These are well-known scams to get your credit card number. Solution: Never give your credit card number out over the phone. If you get a call from the front desk, hang up and go to the front desk yourself.
Good Samaritan Tourist Advisors: While it might seem like a good idea to ask locals about sights to see in their country, beware of strangers posing as Good Samaritans. Locals may take advantage of the opportunity to get close and pick your pockets, or may direct you down the wrong path where you may be mugged. Solution: Get directions from a Smartphone app or the concierge at your hotel.
Con Monkeys? If you are traveling to an exotic location, beware of monkeys. In some locations around the world (like Bali) monkeys are allowed to roam free and some people train them to retrieve personal belongings such as wallets. Solution: Hold personal items close and minimize valuable contents.
Chatty at the Checkout: The local behind the shop counter might seem friendly but that may be an act to steal your cash. Some cashiers pretend to talk on the phone when you hand over your credit card but beware – that phone’s camera could snap a photo of your card’s number. Solution: Pay with cash or ask the clerk to get off the phone.
The above tips might save you hassle in the long-run, but they aren’t foolproof. If, while traveling, someone steals your identity or you suspect fraudulent activity, be sure you are traveling with a travel insurance and assistance services plan that includes 24/7 Personal Security Assistance.
Do you have additional travel scams/tips you’d like to share with us?