On a recent trip to a large city, our daughter encountered yet another breed. Far from the street pickpockets, drivers quoting you a price and then raising the price when at your destination who will then not release you luggage from the trunk until you pay, or even the scammers who will place items on you and demand payment because it is now in your possession.
Hers was an encounter via telephone. Staying in a well known popular hotel, she received a call from the front desk the morning following her check-in. It was stated that “Front Desk” was calling and that their computers system had gone down and could she verify her information. Unfortunately, she did and continued on her ventures. Luckily her banking institute caught the fraudulent action and placed a call to her notifying her that her card had been compromised. It was not the “Front Desk” that placed the call, but an out of state scammer who them proceeded to use her card. Hind sight - take the time and go down and personally speak to the front desk.
Being on an out-of-state vacation herself, she was able to go to her banking institute and discuss the situation. Again, unfortunately being out of state, they were not able to issue her a temporary card and needed to close her account. Lesson learned? Yes!
If you are traveling to a foreign country, remember to call you banking
institute and your credit cards. Some companies do not allow international card transactions unless previously notified - make sure you check with yours!
There are many scams such as the “Free” drink. Here you are invited to have a free drink with someone who has picked you out. After a few drinks, a large bill, the scammer has suddenly disappeared leaving you and the bill.
Make sure you carry small bills and enough change - especially when
purchasing items and for transportaion. Many scammers will state they don’t have change and will not refund your purchase leaving you with more money spent than necessary. While speaking of money, beware of “Fake Police”. Yes, hard to believe, but these scammers will show you fake badges and demand to see your identification often stating they are searching for illegal contraband. When you take out your wallet, they too will take your wallet. In this situation, be on the lookout for plain clothed accomplices. Stay in well lit areas and even take down their badge number to verify with the local police that they are
legitimate before doing anything.
Scammers are not just adults dropping gold rings in front of you and claiming it must be yours, but unfortunately, young children are often part of this circle. Children often are quick and distract us, but know they are not working
Beware of using the ATM, and be wary when you have to push past a group. These are situations where you won’t realize what happened until it’s too late. If you are in a situation and become uncomfortable, walk away quickly and be stern with your “NO’S”. Many times the scammers don’t want attention drawn to them and this may divert them for you to quickly exit. Do not let anyone place anything on you or have you hold something - many times these are part of a scam too.
Even though you are on vacation and you are a tourist; try not to look like one. Before your trip make yourself familiar with your destination and read reviews from others. This is only the tip of the iceberg. Here are some interesting posted scams that may keep your red flag flying from Rick Steves.
Wherever you go, be alert and be safe and may all your travels be only