Would you like to be protected from International Travel Scams:
While traveling abroad it is not uncommon to get caught in a scammer’s game. Even if you consider yourself a seasoned traveler. However if you know what’s happening where, then you can prepare yourself and be on guard. Let me give you information on some common travel scams that are taking place these days at popular tourist destinations.
- Sorry for the stain Sir! – Also called “hot dog trick,” this travel scam can occur in busy airports when you seem stressed out and often distracted. Someone will walk by and accidentally squirt mustard on you or spill something else causing a stain. They will then awkwardly try to help clean up the stain while an accomplice grabs your luggage or wallet and walk off with it, according to International Business Times.
To avoid falling prey to this scam, keeping your luggage safely between your feet while sitting or standing. If you are traveling with others, place your luggage in the middle of your group and not beside or behind you. As for your wallet, keep it in your front pocket and not back pocket and keep valuables our of backpack pockets.
- Jet Ski Damage – This travel scam can happen at any tourist destination on or near a body of water. This is a huge problem in Phuket, Thailand however can happen anywhere. You rent a jet ski from the beach, when you return it’s claimed you’ve damaged it and you’re paying for a hefty repair bill. If you refuse to pay, some of the rental company’s large friends come to convince you to pay and may even frog-march you off to the nearest ATM.
To avoid falling into this trap, be sure to thoroughly research your jet ski rental company ahead of time. Some people have tried to beat this scam by photographing the jet ski before they head out in the water, however crooks have started hiding damage with water-based paint which washes off.
- Fake art shows – Be wary of young art students who approach you on the street and invite you to a school gallery. Often, when you get to the supposed gallery, you’ll find yourself on the receiving end of a high-pressure sales pitch for overpriced art. A variation on the scheme is the students might ask you to pay fees to view the art or pay for expensive drinks. This is a particular popular scam in China, so politely decline anyone who invites you to an art show while traveling in Beijing or Shanghai.
- Overly helpful locals – be very careful when approached by overly helpful locals, especially while making ATM withdrawals. If you can’t decipher the ATM’s language you could fall victim to a friendly local offering help. In reality they could be memorizing your ATM PIN Code and will then pickpocket you and steal your bank card. Or, if you’ve completed a transaction, they could grab your cash and run off with it. Politely turn down any help offered while making ATM withdrawals. If you feel uneasy, cancel your transaction and walk away.
- Slowly counting change – Be sure you always receive correct change and be especially wary when a cashier is counting your change at an extremely slow pace or pauses often while counting. This could be a ploy for you to lose patience and accept whatever change they are counting at the moment – an amount that is probably lower than what they owe you.
These are a few examples because there are plenty of other scams out there. How can you protect yourself? My suggestion is in addition to know about the city or destination, read and research your destination. This is the easiest way to save yourself from trouble. If you or someone you know who was involved in a scam while traveling, please leave a comment below.
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