- Broken Taxi Meter: Cab drivers near airports or train stations are known to pull this scam, but it can happen anywhere. When you get into a taxi and start to drive, the driver will inform you that the meter is broken and charge you a ridiculous price (to the tune of 100s of dollars if you’re not careful). To avoid this, negotiate rates ahead of time, or ensure the meter is in fact working before you get in the car. If the taxi driver refuses to turn on the meter, or tells you it’s cheaper without the meter, get out and opt for another driver.
The Long Route. Be aware of taxi drivers who take longer routes to increase the fare. Some drivers prey on unsuspecting travelers who are not familiar with the city. Check your Google Map. If you feel that the driver is taking a longer route, speak up and show them the map.
- Overbooked Or Closed Hotel: This common travel scam happens largely with cab drivers. While en route to your hotel, the driver will tell you your hotel is either closed or overbooked and then take you to a more expensive hotel where the driver receives a nice fat commission. To avoid this, call your hotel in advance and make sure they’re open. Ask if they offer shuttle service and then schedule a pickup.
- Free Bracelets: A friendly local approaches you and offers you a free bracelet. Once you accept it, they will demand payment for it. To avoid this, politely decline any offers of free items from strangers.
- Fake Police Officers: Scammers posing as police officers will ask to see your passport and wallet. They will then demand a fine for some made-up offense. To avoid this, ask for identification and call the police station to verify their identity.
- ATM Skimming: Scammers attach a device to an ATM that reads your card information. To avoid this, use ATMs located inside banks or hotels.
- Fake Tickets: Scammers sell fake tickets to popular tourist attractions. To avoid this, purchase tickets only from authorized vendors.
- Distraction Scams: Scammers will create a distraction, such as spilling something on you, while an accomplice steals your valuables. To avoid this, keep your valuables close to you, including at restaurants, and be aware of your surroundings.
- Bogus Wi-Fi: Scammers set up fake Wi-Fi hotspots in public places to steal your personal information. To avoid this, use a virtual private network (VPN) or your phone’s data plan instead.
- Fake Charity Workers: Scammers posing as charity workers will ask for donations. To avoid this, donate only to reputable charities.
- Currency Switch: Scammers will switch your bills for counterfeit ones or bills of lesser value. To avoid this, familiarize yourself with the local currency and always count your change.
Common travel scams that you should be aware of and how to avoid them
October 4, 2023 0 comment