Money Common travel scams and how to avoid them

20:25  13 february  2018
20:25  13 february  2018 Source:   MoneySense

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Rather than instruct you on how to avoid each scam individually, I think the most important thing to learn is the proper attitude. Check US State Department travel advisories, read destination message boards to learn from the misfortune of others and gain insight into common scams and bring along

Most Common Travel Scams (2017). It sucks to get scammed by a stranger when you’re traveling on vacation. How To Avoid It: Call your hotel in advance and make sure they ’re open. Ask if they offer shuttle service and then schedule a pickup.

travel scams: (Pexels)© Used with permission of / © Rogers Media Inc. 2018. (Pexels)

Travel scams are the worst. There’s no worse way to ruin your mood and vacation than getting ripped off. It doesn’t matter where in the world you are, someone will try to take advantage of you. The good thing is, most travel scams are similar throughout the world, so you can protect yourself by doing a little bit of research before you depart.

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In the end, nothing happened, but it just goes to show that when abroad, many travelers are often being watched. That is why it is important to be aware of different common travel scams and know how to avoid them .

Planning a trip. Common Travel Scams and How to Avoid Them . The longer the trip is, the more money they can rip off travelers . In addition, they usually take longer paths, which they call “shortcuts” but in fact are circling around to maximize the fare.

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Here are some common travel scams and how to avoid them.

Broken taxi meters

Despite the fact that everyone knows about them, broken taxi meters for some are still one of the most common travel scams. What happens is that cab drivers will tell you that the meter is broken and try to negotiate a (higher) fixed price. Negotiating isn’t a problem if you already know how much the journey should cost you (ask your hotel in advance), but just get in a different cab if you’re not sure. Remember, don’t use unlicensed taxis ever. Also, if you’re at the airport, only get in a cab at official taxi stands.

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Read about these common travel scams , and how you can avoid them on your upcoming travels . Common In: Asia, Europe, Middle East. Closed Attractions– You’re wandering around a city and ask a local how to get to a major attraction.

To help you out, here are some of the most common scams to watch out for Scammers often take advantage of travelers when they are tired and disoriented. Avoiding this scam is fairly easy but requires a little planning: even if you’re opting for a flexible style of travel , have a room waiting and

The accommodation is “closed”

Here’s another travel scam that’s related to taxi drivers. While on your ride to your hotel or hostel, some drivers will tell you that it’s been closed for months, but don’t worry they know a good place nearby. Why would cab drivers do this? They get a commission from the other hotel. Obviously, your accommodations aren’t closed since you already reserved your room, however sometimes people who made a last minute reservation may think they made a mistake. You could always call your hotel in advance to confirm your reservation or use their shuttle service (if available). Alternatively, just keep telling your cab driver to take you there. They may still insist it is closed, but eventually, they’ll stop putting up a fight (maybe).

Free charms/bracelets/rosemary

In many parts of Europe a friendly local will come up to you and chat or offer you some kind of friendly thing that goes on you. In some cases they may come right up and start putting a “friendship” bracelet on you, while in others may just hand you some “good luck” rosemary. A variation of this scam is someone who looks like a monk offering you a lucky charm with your fortune. Once they have the goods on you, they’ll demand a tip. If you resist, they’ll make a scene in hopes that you’ll just pay up to avoid the attention. If anyone tries to put anything on you, give it back right away or resist. If you make a scene, they’ll likely move on to the next person. Even if they do get something on you, just stand firm and refuse to pay.

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Travel scams are common all over the world. From rigged taxi meters to blind robbery to fake cops, 19 travel bloggers share their worst travel scam stories— and how to avoid them .

1. The Store Scam . Common in Southeast Asia, Turkey, and India, a friendly local starts up a conversation, inevitably leading to an invitation to visit a relative’s store for a great deal. (If you're willing to risk brain freeze to avoid eye mush, this sounds like a smart move.)

Shopping deals

Many countries specialize in certain products such as papyrus in Egypt or silk in Thailand. There’s nothing wrong with buying these things, just make sure you’re not overpaying for them or buying low quality stuff. Research in advance of how much things cost and where the most reputable places to buy them from are. Also, don’t confuse haggling with being ripped off. In many countries, it’s perfectly normal to haggle on the price. Again, research what’s the accepted norm so you don’t get ripped off.

The attraction is closed

Similar to the your accommodations is closed travel scam, this scam involves taxi drivers or tuk tuk drivers telling you that the local attraction you’re interested is currently closed for lunch or for the day. Instead they offer to take you to some other local attraction while stopping at some stores along the way where they’ll make a commission off of anything you buy. Always double check the opening hours of attractions, and make sure you’re at the right entrance. You may not realize that you’re trying to get in from the closed back entrance.

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Traveling to a new country for the first time is always exciting and will inevitable bring about a host of new experiences to be had. Many people enjoy traveling around, however tourists are the biggest targets for con men and scammers to potentially rip off.

Since knowledge is the best defense, here are 10 of the most common travel scams to watch out for How to Avoid Getting Ripped Off: Don’t fondle duty-free items unless you plan to purchase them .

Messing with your money

Whenever you head to a new country, you’ll want to become familiar with the local currency. Different bills and coins may sometimes look similar which presents an opportunity for merchants who are trying to pull a fast one on you. Always count your change before departing any store so you can make a complaint if something doesn’t add up. It’s also a good idea to verbally confirm what bill you’re giving people e.g. “Here’s a 50” so they don’t turn around and say you only gave them a 20.

The card game

The card game is one of the most common travel scams, yet people still fall for it. Essentially there are three cards (or a ball under a cup / coin under a shell) and you have to guess where the right card is to win money. The people playing keep winning so you give it a try where of course you win too. When you start to increase your bet, that’s when they use sleight of hand to win. You’ll always lose to this travel scam and the people around who seem to win every time are in on the scam. Don’t waste your money here.

Dynamic currency conversion

Although this not technically a tourist scam, dynamic currency conversion is something to watch out for since you can get ripped off. Dynamic currency conversion is when you get to select the local currency or your home currency when paying by credit. Always choose the local currency since the exchange rate is set by Visa or Mastercard. On the other, the rate for your home currency is set by the merchant so they could up the exchange quite a bit. For more tips on currency exchange, read my guide now.

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Home :: Going Solo :: Travel Scams . How to Avoid Travel Scams 6 common scams and how NOT to fall for them . The 6 most common travel scams and how to make sure they pass you by. 1. Product Substitution. This is the bread and butter of those who prey on travelers .

Eight most common travel scams in Europe. Avoid saying you are leaving town soon (that same or the following day), which leaves little time for you to pursue further action if they cheat you.

Barry Choi is a personal finance and budget travel expert at

This article originally appeared on and has been republished with permission.


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