Common Swindles Scams and Hoaxes While Travelling Abroad
Britons lose approximately £3.5 billion due to scams and hoaxes each year and most of this happens abroad. Here are my top 10 swindles, scams and hoaxes to avoid when travelling abroad.
1. You arrive that the airport after a long flight and all you want to do is get to the hotel. In arrivals you maybe approached by what looks like a porter who offers to find you a taxi. The likelihood is that the taxi driver is a relative and will charge you double compared to a registered taxi. Politely refuse and head straight for the genuine taxi rank.
2. The Egyptian both ways scam can be easily avoided provided you know what to watch out for. Just before you get out of the taxi, the driver will offer to pick you up to take you back to the hotel for an agreed price. However, after making the return journey, the price has suddenly shot up. Why? You’ve been charged for the taxi driver waiting for you!
3. Visiting a crowded and busy marketplace, someone bumps into you and drops a pair of glasses or valuable ornament, but always pre-broken. They act horrified and make a big scene about you paying for the damage and out of embarrassment you probably do. Ask the “victim” to go with you to a police station and you will probably find they refuse and leave pretty quickly!
4. The Spanish Flower Scam starts with a lady and/or child offering you flowers to buy. While you are looking at the flowers you are kindly relieved of your money/travellers cheques/credit cards. Avoid this by wearing a money belt and don’t carry all your cash with you.
5. After a long day, you get back to your hotel room and receive a call from reception. They tell you there’s a problem with your credit card and ask for your details again; but yes, you guessed it, the caller was not reception and your credit card is now taking a hammering. Only give your details direct to reception staff.
6. There is much to see on the streets of New York but watch out for people hawking the American three-card trick. The dealer has three cards that they shuffle and all you have to do is pick the Queen. Easy? You would think so, but avoid at all costs as it is a quick way to loose your money.
7. Many people like the freedom that hiring a car on holiday gives you. But don’t just drop and run when returning it otherwise you might just find your credit card charged with damage that you didn’t cause. Always make sure that you inspect the car together and sign off on what you both agree on.
8. When travelling in Thailand, beware of the taxi and tuk-tuk drivers who offer to take you to jewellery shops promising that you can make money by selling the gems when you return home. This is not true and you won’t make a penny.
9. Beware of strangers who approach you asking for directions or currency exchange. Another two men will then approach claiming to be policemen. After demanding to see your passport or check your wallet for “counterfeit” notes, then disappear. If you have exchanged money they will then confiscate it citing that it is counterfeit. If you are approached by police ensure that you ask for identification.
10. Your enjoying a night out but have a few too many beers and you need the loo. You’re only a couple of minutes but that’s all it takes for someone to slip something into your drink. A few of hours later you wake up find your money, phone and cards all gone. Never leave your drink unattended!
Enjoy your holiday; just don’t get scammed!
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