Traveling for pleasure is a contemporary privilege that is being enjoyed by more and more people. For instance, according to data from Statista, the worldwide market volume for traveling will reach $1,063.00 bn by 2028.
However, where there is money to be made, some people will become victims of scams. To lower your risks of being scammed while traveling, we have prepared a list of several travel scams to be aware of.
1. Fake accommodation listings
People tend to trust online booking platforms, and most of them can be used safely, especially if you avoid booking properties that have few to no reviews. The main advantage of booking a property that has not been reviewed by other customers is that it is typically listed at a lower price compared to other properties offering the same facilities. However, some people create convincing profiles for non-existing houses and apartments.
Some might wrongly assume that reputable booking platforms don’t have fake accommodation listings, but this is not necessarily the case, as it’s not always possible to determine the accuracy of the information provided by third parties. As such, to avoid becoming a victim of this scam, it’s best to cross-check information about the property across multiple platforms, and if you can’t find any useful information, avoid booking the accommodation in question.
One of the most effective ways is to reverse search the address of the place you want to rent on Nuwber. It will show you who owns this place, these people’s contact details, and if the neighborhood is safe.
2. Airport scams
Many of us can remember multiple occasions in which we were rushing to catch a flight. Being tired and stressed due to time pressure may make you prone to missing hints that you are on the verge of being scammed. For example, you might encounter individuals who pretend to be officials who will assist you with customs procedures. Such individuals may demand your personal information or even ask for payment for their bogus services.
One of the worst things that can happen at an airport is to have your luggage stolen. This practice often involves distracting passengers while their valuables are being taken away. It goes without saying: never leave your luggage unattended or in the company of a stranger.
3. Transportation fraud
One of the most common scams travelers experience is being overcharged by taxi drivers. This type of scam is more common in some parts of the world than others, and you must be especially careful if you are traveling to locations where there have been many reports of ill-intentioned taxi drivers. You can easily avoid this issue by using Uber or other similar platforms wherever they are available. If you must use traditional taxi services, only use licensed ones and ask about the approximate costs of the ride early on.
While not a technical scam, be aware of private companies offering public transportation services at a much higher cost than public companies. No need to say, avoid unlicensed transportation providers at all costs.
4. ATM-related tricks
ATM frauds are quite common all over the world, and you must be especially careful if you are going to use them more often than usual. It’s best to withdraw money in locations that feel safe.
While the risk of becoming the victim of an ATM-related crime is relatively low, the risk of overpaying for a withdrawal request is quite high. What fewer tourists know is that ATMs located in touristy locations often charge much higher fees and offer a terrible currency conversion rate.
If you have to withdraw money from a foreign ATM, it’s best if you only use ATMs that belong to traditional banks. In addition, it’s usually best to refuse the conversion proposed by the ATM, as the one made by your provider will typically be more convenient.
5. Tourist attraction scams
Areas frequented by tourists are almost always a hot spot for petty crime, including pickpocketing or charging for non-existing services. To better recognize red flags, learn as much as possible about a location so that you can know what types of scams are common in the area.
A common technique implemented by scammers is to approach individuals and offer them services such as transportation or photo-taking and, after providing the service, demand an exorbitant amount of money. If someone offers you any services, make sure you inquire about costs beforehand.
6. Fake police fraud
If you are being approached by someone who appears to be a police officer on the pretext that they are investigating a scam or checking travel documents, make sure you demand to see their badge before giving them anything. If you are being asked for information or money by someone who is pretending to be a police officer but does not have credentials to prove it or is behaving unusually, call the local police station as soon as possible.
7. Wi-Fi network spoofing
If you find yourself in a location with free public Wi-Fi, do your best not to connect to a fake network, as you might end up giving access to your sensitive information. To avoid spoofing, check the official Wi-Fi network name with venue staff and consider using a virtual private network (VPN) for additional security. While connecting to an unknown free Wi-Fi network can be tempting if you are running out of GBs, it’s a risk you may not want to take.
Bottom line: Most travel scams can be avoided
Travelers are a consistent target of petty crime, meaning you should always pay attention to red flags to avoid losing money and, as such, ruining some or all of your vacation. Fortunately, most scamming techniques belong to a few categories, and you can usually tell when someone is trying to steal your data or money.
Last but not least, always do a decent amount of research before traveling to a new place. To make the best use of the available data online, use a combination of sources, including traveler reviews and official data from governmental websites. As long as you understand a location, you may be able to enjoy it without seeing more or less danger than you should.