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.
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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.Is this a smart tip?
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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.Is this a smart tip?
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Don’t Accept 'Free' Items From People On The Street
You know those announcements you hear in an airport telling you not to take items from other travelers? There's a good reason for that, and it's all about security. When you're out and about visiting a new place, watch for people who try to give you things. A free plush toy could have something nefarious hidden inside, and you don't want to get caught transporting anything unlawful. Politely decline freebies while traveling and you will remain safe and innocent of any legal or moral concerns.
Another concern involves accepting something that's "free," only for it to be followed by a demand for a donation. In this case, if a local makes a scene, it could be to compel you to give them money. It's also a great way to distract you while someone else picks your pocket.Is this a smart tip?
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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.Is this a smart tip?