Tue, 31 May, 2016
10 more travel scams to watch out for
We’ve already given you a rundown of 16 travel scams to be wary of in 2016, but as it so turns out (unfortunately) we were barely scratching the surface!
There’s never been a better time to head overseas but there’s still a need for travellers to be cautious when they’re doing so to avoid travel scams.
1. Fake Wi-Fi hot spots – Con artists are aware today’s tourists are constantly on the lookout for Wi-Fi, and have created fake hotpots to harness your personal details. To avoid this, only connect to secure networks and if a hotpot seems illegitimate, avoid it.
2. Broken taxi metre – Common around airports and train station, in this scam taxi drivers inform you (generally at the end of your journey) that the metre has been broken. The estimate fare they charge for the journey is generally blown well out of proportion.
3. Closed/overbooked hotel – Another taxi driver scam, here your driver will inform you en route that your hotel is closed of overbooked (it generally isn’t). From here they will try to take you to a more expensive one, receiving a hefty commission in the process.
4. “Free” bracelets or rosemary – Commonplace in Eastern Europe, in this scam a friendly person approaches you for a chat, offering a bracelet or a sprig of rosemary. The catch? Once you have it they’ll demand money (and make a scene if you don’t cough up)!
5. Closed attraction – A variation on the closed/overbooked hotel scam, here a local will approach you nearby a popular local attraction, and tell you it’s closed. From here they’ll try and guide you to a shop where you’ll be pressured into buying something expensive.
6. Damaged rental items – Here, someone in cahoots with the person who rented you bicycle, moped or scooter, will damage the rental when left unattended. When you return it to the owner you’ll have to pay for the damage at a largely inflated price.
7. Fake gemstones – In this scam the local you’re interacting with casually brings up their side business of making gemstones, eventually offering to sell you these items at a “special discount”. The problem is these items are generally fake as they come.
8. Mass transit pickpockets – When riding a crowded train or bus overseas it’s not uncommon to find yourself overwhelmed with the amount of people getting on or off at any one time. Here you’re especially vulnerable to pickpockets look to nab your phone or wallet.
9. Market scams – Local markets can snare you some interesting pieces, but be wary then the stall owners asks you where you’re from. If they find out you’re from a relatively wealthy country, odds are they’re going to inflate the price for their products significantly.
10. Spiked drinks – Be cautious when drinking, especially when alone, as tourists are often targeted by would-be drink spikers. Make sure you’re on the lookout for any signs of tampering, and try to opt for sealed bottles or cans when purchasing drinks.
Have you fallen victim to any of these common travel scams, or do you know someone who has? Are there any that we left of our list?
Please share your story in the comments below.