Variations on travel scams are numerous and ever changing. If you travel frequently, informing yourself on some of the details about travel scams will pay off for sure. Most travel scams occur in big cities, still if you are in a rural destination it doesn’t mean you can walk with your eyes closed. Language barriers, unfamiliar surroundings and cultural differences mark tourists as easy prey for travel scams. An inspiring traveler may find good information on the lonely planet forum, where thousands gather to share their stories.
We can categorize travel scams into the list below:
- Random Traveling Scams
- Telemarkerting Travel Fraud
- Online Airline Tickets Scam
- Traveling Agencies Scam
RANDOM TRAVELING SCAMS
Whether you are going overseas, to your nearby country or just to the next town you can make contact with some very convincing actors and con artists who will try to squeeze some money out of you by playing cripple and poor or by injecting you a feeling of guilt if you refuse help.
No Fuel Scam – A stranger may approach you and tell you he has run out of gas while on the way home. He desperately needs the fuel to attend his fathers funeral. He and his family are all christians. If someone asks you for fuel make him an offer that you will accompany him to the nearest gas service station, most likely he then will find an excuse and disappear.
Precious Item Scam – You’re asked for directions by a supposed stranger. He thanks you with a gift, but before leaving he will ask you if he can borrow some cash from you. Someone puts a bracelet right on your arm as part of a demonstration. When you can’t remove it, you feel obligated to pay for it. A nearby person finds a valuable watch on the ground in front of you and offers to sell it to you. These items are worthless, so avoid paying for them and don’t lend money to anyone.
Diversion Theft – You’re drive your car when suddenly you get a flat tire. A stranger pulls up to help you. While you’re working on the tire, a buddy of his secretly relieves your car of its luggage. While you’re walking through the city bird poop or ketchup splats onto your shirt. A con artist helps you clean up and helps himself to your wallet at the same time. This can also work in the opposite way. Someone asks you to help him with his “problem” an while you are working on it, your wallet is being emptied. There are is an infinite way to create diversion so watch out.
Money Changing Scam – When traveling abroad be sure to know the current exchange rate for the currency that your visiting country uses. Exchanging rates will vary from one money exchanger to another and they will all try to take a big interest from you. Before departing from your homeland, go to your local bank and exchange the necessary amount there. When paying with an currency announce out loud to the banker, trader or similar the exact amount you gave him, so he won’t say you gave him to little.
Taxi Scam – Make yourself aware of the overcharges made by a taxi cab driver. If you are visiting a distant country your first time, there are chances you won’t know how much that countries currency is worth, so the taxi driver will have no trouble to charge you a higher amount, have the taximeter tempered or drive a few miles in circles. Also when you are out of change and only have big papers in your wallet, you give the taxi driver a hundred dollars, but he will claim that you only gave him ten dollars.
Begging Scam – A skinny child wearing ragged clothing asks you for money so she could buy some food. They tell you a heart breaking story about how they came to be starving. In some countries, begging is run as an organized business. Children are used to collect cash for a ringleader. The child often receives very little benefit herself. If you feel softhearted towards a child that looks hungry, offer her food or service instead. Never give out money!
Limo Service Scam – A “limo driver” who says he’s just gotten off duty and could use some extra money will approach you. If he won’t scam you by taking a longer route, he may hold your luggage inside the trunk until you have paid him the desired extortion fee.
TELEMARKETING TRAVEL FRAUD
Have you ever signed up to win a free trip at a fair, trade show or restaurant? If so, you may get a phone call, telling you that you’ve won a vacation. Be careful, for it may be a trap. The vacation that you have “won” likely is not free. While some travel opportunities sold over the phone or offered through the mail, Internet or by fax are legitimate, many are scams that defraud consumers out of millions of dollars each month. To get and idea and more information on how this is done read here about telemarketing fraud.
ONLINE AIRLINE TICKETS SCAM
The internet is a great place to find good deals on airline tickets. There are several offers to good to be true so be sure to use caution, because instead of saving money on tickets scam airline web sites could end up robbing you by a number of different ways. These sites attract customers by undercutting airline ticket prices offered by other airlines. When you’re paying with your credit card, they capture your credit card information. The customer then receives a message telling them that the credit card transaction has been declined, followed by instructions to wire funds for payment of the tickets. When you pay by wire transfer you get an error message at the end of the transaction alerting you that there was a technical problem with instructions on how to pay for the ticket by postal money order. Finding the corrupt sites through a web search creates a false impression that the sites are legitimate. If you fall for this scam, the crooks will have succeeded in obtaining your credit card information, money that you have wired, and deposit account information. The easiest way to avoid consumer scams like this are to use only known and trusted web sites when conducting business online, including making travel arrangements.
TRAVELING AGENCIES SCAM
Is the travel agent you’re dealing with a member of a professional organization? Do they belong to a local Chamber of Commerce? These are important questions to ask. If the answer to all of them is no, you have to wonder how serious this person is about being a travel agent. Do the employees seem experienced? Are there any complaints against this company and you can find information about it? It’s easy these days to start a travel company. Just build a half-decent website and away you go. If the company isn’t known to you do some research before you give them any money. The advertised deal you are responding to might cost more than you thought because of fees hidden in the fine print or an individual within a fine organization my use tactics that are less than ethical. Be on your guard at all times because with the price of travel these days, a lot of money is at stake.