Avoiding Vacation Scams

No matter where you go for your vacation, there’s always a chance a scummy scammer is around to make a quick, dishonest buck or two from an unwitting tourist. Knowing they have no knowledge of the local culture and know-how, these creeps profit from the naivety of the typical traveler. Don’t get caught unaware and arm yourself with a little anti-scam know-how.
Trouble Taxi
Even though the world of public transportation has gone digital with apps like Uber or Lyft (or Grab in Southeast Asia), many places around the world may still rely on old-fashioned taxi meters. Because of this, scammers may use the broken taxi meter scam to swindle you out of your transportation money. There are a lot of ways they can use that excuse to twist their words to make it seem you’re the one in the wrong.
The Spill ‘n Shill
Be on the lookout for “clumsy” individuals around restaurants or food stalls. You might find a drop of food or a spritz of sauce accidentally caking your shirt. When that happens, an accomplice of the food flinging felon will pretend to clean you off, effectively distracting you from their sticky fingers rummaging through your purse or pockets. When foodstuff is spilled all over you overseas, don’t panic. Just calmly put your hands up to show them you do not need any help and simply carry your bags and pockets to the washroom where you can rinse the stain off.
Attraction Misdirection
Another big draw to any vacation is the cultural attractions one can only encounter in certain countries. Tourists will often pay the big bucks to see some of the most sought-after and iconic buildings or museums across the world. Knowing this, a scammer will often single out foreigners and tell them lies about how the attraction of their choice is closed for local reasons. They will then lead you to another shop or attraction where you might be swarmed and pushed into buying a product there. Instead of following this seemingly friendly advice, thank them for the warning but propose to check out the establishment for yourself. It might seem rude, but don’t put your trust in energetic individuals who might act all overly friendly and helpful.
Distracted by the Weak
In a few countries, you can find a handful of beggars and poor children roaming the streets or lying in corners, extending a hand for alms. While your heart may bleed out for them, don’t just grab your wallet mindlessly. Many of these poor individuals may actually be part of a gang and have a ‘buddy’, who is a fellow gang member, watching close by. Once you take the heart-wrenching bait, they’ll make note of where you keep your wallet for a chance of swiping it later on. So the next time you see someone suspicious-looking,keep your wallet hidden and promise to yourself that you’ll donate some money to a respectable charity when you get home, instead.
Hotel Scam Services
This may not happen all the time, but it is still a very likely scenario to happen to hotel-staying travelers. You may get calls from the front desk in the middle of the night asking for your credit card details due to an error or a misprint. Never trust late night credit card-related calls as this is likely not the front desk but somebody who is out to grab your well-earned vacation cash. To counter these unwanted phone felons, inform them that you will go down to the front desk yourself right now or tomorrow morning to take care of this problem personally. It’s never wise to give sensitive info over the phone.
It literally pays to be aware of potential travel scams, saving you the grief and pain of losing much of your hard-earned money to criminals and charlatans. Keep these suspicious habits in mind the next time you travel through sketchy places and you’ll be less likely to swindled by a thief.