How to protect yourself from travel scams?
My simple answer:
Read and research your destination. After researching, research and read again about the destination. I am sure you’ve heard before on regular basis “KIP”. KIP stands for “Knowledge is Power.” So more power you have better it is. Specially when you are visiting a destination you know nothing about. So let me continue from where I left off earlier.
- The Falling woman – I read about this common scam in London, but keep in mind it can happen anywhere. This is also known as “the tumbling woman.” An elderly woman will make a huge commotion by falling down. Accomplices will then quickly move through the crowd, pick pocketing and grabbing purses.
To avoid this or I should rather say any type of scam is to stay as attentive and cautious as possible to avoid scams like these. Any time something like this happen, keep an eye on your valuables first and then other things that are taking place nearby.
- High pressure travel club companies – Time share style companies have been around forever, but today’s travel club companies sometimes use unscrupulous tactics and high pressure sales to entice customers into purchasing their vacation club memberships. We as consumer think we are getting good deal and for our time spent we are getting free goodies, so let’s do business. Later they realize it wasn’t that good at all. They would’ve bought something similar very cheap. Why they bought it? Because of high pressure sales techniques.
To avoid this, before you enter the meeting or so-called presentation, you need to make sure buying this membership is a need not a want. If you are clear it is a want, chances are you will not buy it. Otherwise you will easily succumb to the pressure. Some of these presentations, the company have their own people play the role of a potential customer to show naïve clients that there are others who are buying their membership, so they should. Be very careful is all I can say.
- The survey scam – This is sometimes donation scam also. Some passerby will come to you with pictures of either their home country or like a survey form. Their survey form is actually a form to sign up to give money each month. Their home country photos will have natural disasters information showing they really need help. If you don’t fill the form they ask for cash donation on the spot and will chase you for sometime. They won’t stop until they get money out of you or you’re really firm in your “NO”.
To avoid this, just say no to surveys or donations. Simply you can say you are only carrying traveler checks and you are out of cash and credit cards.
The biggest scam:
- Unsafe WiFi hot-spot – “OH MY GOD.” I absolutely don’t like this. I am a frugal traveler and don’t want someone to scam me. But this is way more than one can imagine. In this age of technology, travelers need to check their whatever on the phone or tablet etc. Sometime in addition to regular email, they need to check their bank accounts. And while traveling what is easy? It is easy to get WiFi somewhere. What we naturally do? We turn the WiFi ON and start browsing. Have you ever thought, why someone would give you free WiFi? I know, it is a service offering but have you ever thought how unsafe or dangerous it could be to use an unsecured WiFi while traveling? And, you can lose all, let me repeat all of your valuable passwords, bank information and other important stuff including giving the scammers access to your phone. Do you really want this to happen? Think again, you are on vacation, enjoying sight-seeing and just one mistake and everything is in jeopardy. Do you really want to do it? This is a travel scam that can take place while you are traveling within your own home town. This can happen to you while you are traveling or not.
While most of these scams take place before check in. However some can take place in city, in transit area or I should say anywhere. The only thing you can do to save yourself from these scams is stay focused and attentive. Don’t offer to help, just ignore anyone who approaches you for something and stay vigilant.