Tips To Help Tourists From Getting Scammed On Vacation

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Travelers only: Vote up the tips that worked for you.

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.

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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.

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    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.

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    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.