Tourists have long been the most popular target for con artists, and this tendency does not appear to be changing anytime soon. After all, travellers are extremely dependent on others, and they frequently fail to recognise frauds since they don’t know what to look for, unlike natives. To keep yourself safe from scams the next time you travel, you should study the top scams to avoid.
Internet scams, also known as phishing, occur when hackers trick individuals into thinking they’re dealing with a legitimate person or organisation. When someone trusts them, they will ask for crucial information, which the hackers will then use against them. There has been a significant increase in phishing schemes involving travel, as tourist slowly returns to pre-pandemic levels. Internet scams can be highly varied: from bogus websites to bogus emails to bogus pop-ups, you won’t notice it coming if you’re not prepared.
To protect yourself from travel-themed internet frauds, be cautious with your login information: make sure your passwords are strong, and always think twice before entering them anywhere. Make sure it’s not a phishing site. You can check this by looking for a small lock next to the URL: this lock indicates that the website is secure and that the identity has been validated.
Taxi drivers frequently overcharge visitors simply because many tourists don’t know any better. The driver may claim that the “taxi metre is faulty,” and then charge 10 or even 20 times the standard fare at the moment of drop-off.
To avoid such scams, take the following precautions:
- Before you leave, research taxi rates in your destination country.
- Before leaving, always ask the driver for an expected charge.
- Use only official taxi services, not random drivers waiting at the airport (these are very likely to be scammers).
The ‘free bracelet’ deception
As a nice gesture, locals on the street may approach tourists and offer them a ‘free bracelet.’ Even if you refuse, they will be quite aggressive and demand that you accept it in order to avoid being unpleasant. However, once they put it on, they will demand money from you and may even get aggressive. You’ll be forced to pay, despite the fact that you didn’t want the bracelet in the first place.
The best way to avoid this fraud is to resist pressure and refuse anyone who offers you a free bracelet (or anything else for free on the street).
Phoney police officers
When you see a police officer, you immediately feel at ease, especially if you’re a tourist. Because there are so many scammers and pickpockets all around you, police officers should safeguard you, right? Because of the trust that police officers have, scammers may occasionally dress up as them to make the hoax more convincing.
Fake police frauds can take a variety of forms. They may approach you and request your passport for any reason, then flee with it. Alternatively, they may request that you examine your money since ‘there have been a number of false bills in the area recently.’ The moral of the story is to never trust anyone, including police officers, especially when they make strange requests like these.
Rental damage deception
Tourists are frequently duped by companies from which they hired a car, motorcycle, or anything else. When it comes time to return the vehicle, the agency can claim that the tourist severely damaged it and demand hundreds of dollars in compensation. Worse, some travellers use important documents like passports as collateral, forcing them to pay the charge if they wish to return home.