Travelers are always on the lookout for great deals, cheap flights, value for money holidays and special offers. Scammers are always on the lookout for travelers!
Some scams are sophisticated, some are very basic. It is good to keep a lookout for some basic standard cons.
Special offers that appear very cheap and amazing are often not what they seem. Beware of all the hidden extras that will occur that you are not forewarned about. A cheap tour may include an outrageously priced dinner that you cannot get out of. Free entry into a club may not be such a bargain when you discover the price of drinks and you may be required to buy at least one of these. A beautiful girl tempting you into a bar may result in a far larger bill than you had ever expected.
Research your bargain hotels, they may be situated in building sites or far away from any place you wish to visit. Watch out for recommendations from strangers and taxi drivers regarding accommodation.
Take care when booking an all inclusive package to a one off event. Tickets to the Olympics, travel and accommodation may sound wonderful, but be sure that the agent is reputable and that the tickets are really available. There have been many instances where tickets fail to materialize and you are sitting in a hotel room in a foreign city listening to a concert as opposed to being at it.
Be careful of the driver who offers you a day tour at an incredibly good rate which turns into a shopping expedition, with numerous stops at overpriced shops, warehouses and restaurants where you are obliged to eat and feel pressured into buying. In some cases this may be a lot of fun and a good way to see a city, but remember that you are not under any obligation to purchase anything. A driver will often get a kickback on your purchases in shops that they have taken you to. It’s a way for people make a living, but it can be very irritating and a complete waste of your holiday time.
Take care when buying items that you know nothing about. Your wonderful special bargain sapphires from Bangkok may be small worthless pieces of polished glass for all you know.
Credit card fraud is universal. Take care to keep your credit card in view at all times and do not give a waiter or shop assistant the opportunity to put your card through a skimming machine. Insist that they bring the credit card machine to you or accompany them to the machine keeping your card on your person.
A common fraud occurs in hotels where you may get a call, typically late at night when you are sleepy or distracted, supposedly from the front desk, telling you that some information seems to be incorrect and asking you to confirm your credit card details. Don’t give your card number and expiration date over the phone. Rather offer to come down or if it is very late, ask the callers name and say you will sort it out in the morning.
Always travel in licensed taxis. Taking unlicensed taxis has become dangerous with theft and assault a common occurrence. Be wary of joining up with other travelers who you do not know to share cabs and costs. Sometimes these innocent friendly folk are part of the scam.
When visiting a country, it can be a good idea to use your computer to look up some of the scams currently being used in that country. It gives you an extra awareness of possible trouble and gives you a confidence to stand your ground when you know that in all likelihood you are being taken for a ride.
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