For me, traveling is not just a vacation. It’s a sense of fulfillment. Hence, I’d always see to it that I go the extra mile when it comes to preparation. But even with complete planning, there are still things that are out of our control―like travel scams. And it’s the least thing that I, we, would, want to happen when we travel.
Travel scams are totally dispiriting, but there are ways to turn the tables and make the most out of these unfortunate situations.
1. Time Share Scam
Ever heard of the Time Share Scam? This scam often targets travelers/investors alike, who are willing to be real estate partners for a vacation property, to acquire benefits like discounted rates and free stays, for a fee. Unfortunately, we almost fell victim to this outrageous scam during our trip to Tulum Mexico. Read our entire story here.
2. Influencer scam
With the prominence of social media influence breaking the traditional marketing routes of brands, influencers are turned to often to promote multiple niches across media platforms. This need is contributing to the influencer scam, which is rapidly taking the internet by storm. Scammers pretend to be a notable personality to swindle money through a fake, plush project. These con-artists have perfected the art of psychological tactics and voice skills, allowing victims to fall into their trap.
Paying their personal airfare and forking additional money for associated circumstances, victims are now faced with no possible reimbursement, stolen money, and wasted effort. Read the personal account of Henry and Zory from This Life of Travel, and be warned by this emerging scam among Instagram influencers, travel bloggers, and photographers.
3. Fake travel agencies
Next on the list are the fake travel agencies. This kind of scam is prevalent in Asia, where fake agencies endorse cheap yet highly attractive tours with notable inclusions. You will then be required to provide a down payment. And on the day of your travel, you can no longer reach these virtual deceivers. A piece of advice, only avail a tour package from registered agencies. Or, you can try DIY and save more money!
4. Photo Offer
This kind of scam is widespread in busy tourist attractions. Do not fall for a local offering to take a photo of you with your camera. Scammers would direct you to do the ‘look up’ pose. And while you are diligently looking up, the local has already disappeared with your phone or camera.
5. Police pretenders
Unfortunately, scammers also take the figure of those who are bound to protect the citizens. Don’t get intimidated by police officers forcing you to hand over your passport or money. Ask politely your violation, and then call someone if that police pretender insists to get your documents and wallet. One important advice is to bring only a photocopy of your passport when you wander around the new city. Leave the original at your hotel.
6. Closed accommodation or tourist agencies
Another modus operandi of fraudulent taxi drivers is by telling you that your accommodation or tourist attraction is closed. They will then take you to a more expensive one, and then the driver gets his commission in an instant. Thus, always contact your hotel before your arrival.
7. Spilling on clothes accidents
If this happens to you, always focus on your belongings and not yourstained clothes. Don’t be fooled by people trying to help you. Tricksters takeadvantage of your reaction, while the accomplice becomes busy checking your bagand stealing money.
8. Kind ATM helper
When it comes to withdrawing money from ATM, make sure you only focus on your card and yourself. Don’t entertain people who act very friendly to help you avoid local bank fees. This scam is done by ATM skimmers to copy your pin number.
9. Persons in need of help trap
Yes, it’s okay to help but you should be able to distinguish when to assist someone, especially when you are in a foreign place. Do not ever give in to people who would request you to accompany them to a certain place―be it old, injured, or persons with a disability. It is because most accomplices are lurking around the corner, waiting for you to enter their trap.
10. Fake telephone call at night
When you get a call from the front desk during an unusual hour, asking about your credit card details, beware, it’s a trap. Scammers would take advantage of you, thinking that it was the hotel staff verifying your payment for the accommodation. That is why never provide any vital information over the phone.