Tips To Help Tourists From Getting Scammed On Vacation

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Traveling to a new place can be exciting, and tourism around the world helps bridge the gap between cultures. However, travel isn't without its risks. There are plenty of shady characters around the world who target and take advantage of tourists. 

Knowing how to avoid travel scams is not only a good idea - it can also add to your enjoyment while abroad. Learn a little something about the culture and languages of the places you're visiting, then follow these steps for a fun and relaxing vacation.

  • 1
    906 VOTES

    Be Suspicious Of Calls From Hotels To ‘Verify’ Your Credit Card Number

    In general, you should never give private information over the phone when you receive a call. Instead, you should make the call (to a known number) and verify before you provide anything.

    A popular scam involves calling hotel rooms to "confirm" or "verify" a credit card number. If this happens to you, simply inform the caller that you aren't comfortable giving the number over the phone. Let them know you will head to the front desk to do it in person.

    In most cases, the scammer will hang up, but they may try to continue the scam. They'll suggest the desk is unmanned or say they want to save you the trouble. Don't fall for it. Always go to the front desk for anything related to your personal financial information.

    906 votes
  • 2
    454 VOTES

    Don’t Let People Try To Help You At An ATM

    ATMs are a great place to get local currency, but you may be stymied if the machine doesn't offer your preferred language. It's an unfortunate situation, but you should never ask someone to help you with the ATM, or accept help that is offered. You could luck out and find a good Samaritan, but more often than not, anyone who approaches you is planning to take your money or clone your credit card.

    You wouldn't let someone handle your debit card in your home country, so practice that same level of security when you're traveling overseas. If you absolutely have to get cash and need help, it's okay to ask a police officer or go to your embassy or consulate.

    454 votes
  • 3
    417 VOTES

    Don’t Make An Advance Deposit Unless You Have A Written Contract

    Hotel and house rental scams are only increasing with time. The American Hotels and Lodging Association reported that 55 million bookings were made on fraudulent websites in 2017, costing their victims nearly $4 billion. 

    The perpetrators of this scam will throw up a fake website that looks legitimate but is only designed to take your money. In these cases, the alleged landlord or booking agent will ask for a security deposit to hold the property, with the expectation that you will pay the remainder of the cost once you arrive.

    Do not make a deposit without a written contract, and make sure you read that contract to confirm it's real before you pay.

    417 votes
  • 4
    569 VOTES

    Before You Enter A Taxi, Make Sure The Meter Is Working

    Most taxi drivers are honest, hard-working people, but as with any profession, there are some folks out there who will take advantage of an out-of-towner. Before you get into a cab, check the meter to make sure it isn't already running or broken.

    If the driver tells you the meter is broken and they will let you know the cost, get out immediately. It's a scam, and they will demand much more money than the ride would otherwise cost. This is a problem in cities all over the world, and travelers have been threatened by drivers that demand hundreds of dollars for a 15 minute ride.

    569 votes
  • 5
    952 VOTES

    Take Photos Of Your Ride To Avoid False Charges For Damage

    Another scam involving ride hailing companies like Lyft and Uber exploits the companies' damage fee assessments. This fee protects the driver if you vomit in their back seat or tear up the upholstery. However, it's your word against the driver's as to whether or not you damaged their ride, so you need to protect yourself, as well.

    As you're leaving your ride, use your phone to take a quick picture of the inside of the car, then forget about it. If the driver later insists you damaged their car, you have the proof of your innocence waiting on standby.

    952 votes
  • 6
    720 VOTES

    If A 'Police Officer' Asks For Your Passport Or Wallet, Ask To See Their ID Or Badge

    A common scam found all over the world involves people who pretend to be police officers, and this one can be intimidating. A supposed "police officer" may show up while another scammer tries to sell you drugs, or the officer may ask to see your wallet to check for counterfeit money. If the police officer demands your passport and/or wallet, it's likely a scam.

    There is, of course, the possibility that the officer is the real thing, and there's an easy way to find out. Ask to see the officer's identification first. If you don't feel safe, call the police yourself and wait there until the police you called arrive. Bottom line: Don't hand over your passport or wallet to anyone.

    720 votes