10 Common Travel Scams to Avoid
Traveling to new and exciting destinations is an enriching experience that allows us to explore different cultures, meet new people, and create memories that last a lifetime. However, as much as we would like to believe in the goodness of humanity, some people try to take advantage of travelers and scam them out of their money, belongings, or personal information. Let’s highlight some top travel scams you can avoid.
Negotiate the price of a taxi ride BEFORE getting in.
Taking a taxi is a convenient way to get around a new city, but it can also be an opportunity for scammers to overcharge you. Before getting in a taxi, make sure to negotiate the price of the ride and ask how much it should cost to get to your destination. You can also use a taxi meter or a ride-hailing app to avoid surprises at the end of the trip. Do some research before you travel so you know what common prices are. This is the best way to avoid these travel scams.
Don’t let a stranger get too close to you.
Be cautious of strangers who try to get too close to you, especially if they are offering you something for free. It could be a bracelet, a flower, or anything that they can put on your arm or head. If someone tries to give you something, politely refuse and walk away. Some scammers use this tactic to distract you while they pickpocket your wallet or bag.
Watch out for sudden spills.
Another distraction technique that scammers use is spilling something on you. They might ask for your help to clean the spill, while someone else picks your pocket or bag. If someone spills something on you, don’t let them touch you or your belongings. Instead, go to a safe and public place to clean yourself up and check if anything is missing.
Be wary of friendly conversations with locals.
It’s common to strike up a conversation with locals when traveling, but be careful of those who seem too friendly or eager to help. Some scammers use this tactic to gain your trust, invite you to a shop, and pressure you into buying something. If you’re not interested, politely decline and move on.
Don’t follow strangers to unfamiliar places.
If a stranger approaches you on the street and claims to know you or have insider information, be skeptical. They might lead you to an isolated or dangerous place where they can scam or harm you. Always trust your instincts and don’t follow strangers to unfamiliar places.
Check your purchases before leaving the store.
When shopping, especially in markets or street vendors, be mindful of switcheroos. Some sellers might show you a different item or package than what you paid for. Always check your purchases before leaving the store and don’t hesitate to ask for a refund or exchange if something is not right.
Double-check directions and opening hours.
If you need directions or information about a specific place, be cautious of strangers who offer to help. They might give you misleading information or steer you to a different place to scam you. Always double-check directions and opening hours online or with official sources.
Be skeptical of fake officials.
If someone claims to be a police officer, immigration official, or any authority figure, ask for their identification and badge. Don’t hand over your documents or belongings without verifying their legitimacy. If you’re not sure if it’s a real official, ask to go to a police station or embassy to sort things out.
Rent from legitimate businesses.
Renting equipment or vehicles can be a great way to explore a new place, but it can also be a trap for scammers. Only rent from legitimate businesses that ask for your license, deposit, insurance, or any necessary paperwork. Be cautious of random locals who offer you a ride or rental without proper documentation.
Use ATMs at reputable banks.
ATMs are convenient, but they can also be vulnerable to skimming or hacking. Always use ATMs at reputable banks, avoid using ones in remote or dark areas, and cover your PIN with your hand. If you notice any suspicious activity on your bank account, report it immediately to your bank.
Traveling can be a safe and rewarding experience if you take precautions to avoid common travel scams. Be aware of your surroundings, trust your instincts, and use common sense to protect yourself and your belongings. Using a travel agent, such as BWK Travel, can guide you through some do’s and don’ts of your destination. Safe travels!