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10 Common Travel Scams And How Can You Avoid Them
Travelling the world is a passion most people hold dear. While most of them think that they are too smart to be scammed, the truth is that scammers have perfected their crafts for even the smartest person to suspect any foul play. You can never be too prepared for these things. In that regard, the following list of travel frauds is dedicated to helping you detect a scam from afar and avoid it.
1. Fake air ticketsAs a traveller, you most likely will be travelling on a budget so that any discount will be welcomed. This is where scammers get you by offering to sell you tickets claiming that they are discounted. You only get to realize the tickets are counterfeit when boarding the plane. Avoid such fraudsters by ensuring you buy tickets from the official website or ticket booth.
2. Flight reservation for visa scamWhen applying for visas, the embassy of the country you are visiting might ask for a flight reservation for a visa before the interview. In as much as it’s easy to get a flight itinerary with just a click of the button, you need to watch out for online scammers. Some third-party agents will tell you that their reservations do not expire, only to realize they lied when the embassy calls them for verification. Be very careful when dealing with online agents; it is wise to visit the official offices or websites for correct information.
3. Fraudulent hotel reservationsBooking online for your accommodation is the easiest, but it’s filled with scammers waiting to eat your hard-earned money. These cons have their websites designed like that of a genuine hotel. Their rates are too enticing to ignore. While some may be legitimate third parties, they can hold back discount information or fail to relay your requests to the hotel. Ensure that you are dealing with the official website for the hotel. Most hotels will not ask you to pay before you arrive at the hotel, be very careful when you are asked to pay in advance.
4. Fraudulent cab driversThis scam mostly happens with cab operators. You get to the airport and hail a cab, after telling the driver where to take you he starts telling you that the hotel is closed or not available. Their goal here is to take you to another hotel where they are given a commission. Tell the driver that you have a reservation and insist they take you there to confirm for yourself. If they are reluctant, get another cab.
5. Currency scamWhen exchanging money, the person you are dealing with might give you less change or even fake currency. You may also be given worn-out notes that are challenges dealing with later. Ensure that you familiarize yourself with the currency way before going to a new country. Do not allow anyone to rush you through a transaction; carefully check your money before and after the transaction.
6. Rental scamWhen touring your host city, you may need to rent a bike or a car. Fraudulent dealers can tell you that you damaged it and charge you for damages you didn’t cause. Inspect and take photos of the car or bike before taking it and ensure that the operator verifies any existing damage.
7. ATM scamATM scams are more common than you would think. You will be trying to get some money at the ATM, and a stranger will be friendly and try to help you with the aim of copying your PIN code. They carry a card skimmer in their pocket that they use to scan your card. If a person comes near you in an ATM, take your card and leave. Ensure you hide your pin code when keying in.
8. Planned distractionsYou are walking in the street, and then a random stranger spills something, coffee maybe, on your shirt. Another person will offer to clean it for you so that he can distract you. Before you know it, your wallet or phone is missing. If this happens to you, quickly walk away and clean the mess in a restroom.
9. Credit card informationA person pretending to be a hotel representative will call you in the middle of the night telling you to confirm your credit card details. They know you are too tired at this time to think straight. Be on alert for such people and offer to take the details to the front desk yourself.
10. Fake copsFake police officers are common all over the world. They will arrest you for no good reason and ask for your ID; they will then demand a fine to be paid on the spot for them to give it back to you. If someone claims to be a cop, tell them to show you their ID. Just show them your ID but don’t allow them to take it. Offer to pay the fine at the station.
ConclusionGetting scammed in a faraway land can make you loath your host city and its people. Don’t allow a few fraudsters to take away your passion for travelling. Be careful not to be scammed, but in case it happens, count the ordeal as a learning experience for the next time you travel.
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