Be Careful of Scams and Cons When On Holiday

We all look forward to our holiday, once we have made all the arrangements for flights, hotels, car rentals, packing and gathering necessary documents. This is the time when we can relax, have fun and refresh ourselves from our busy daily lives. However, it is when people are on holiday that they are most vulnerable to scam artists and cons. Travellers are easy to spot; they usually have cameras around their necks, folded maps, and sometimes even wear matching clothes. The first way to not look like a tourist is to try and blend in with the locals. Do some quick research on the Internet about your holiday destination which will usually give you enough information so you stand out less in a crowd.

One of the more popular scams to be aware of these days is the hotel phone call scam. You are relaxing in your room late at night and you get a call from someone pretending to be an employee at the front desk. The person on the line claims there was computer glitch and then reads the last four numbers of your credit card before asking you to verify that it is correct. When you explain that it is not, they sound confused and ask you to read back the entire number on your credit card. When you do what is requested by the scammer, they claim all is well which is when they have successfully scammed you.

When you receive this type of suspicious phone call, you must immediately hang up and either call or go to the front desk and ask if there are any issues with your credit card.  In the majority of cases, the front desk will have no idea what you are referring to but you can save yourself a lot of trouble by not giving your credit card information to anyone unless you are the one authoring its use.

Another popular scam when on holiday is the taxi cab scam. You are waiting in the hotel’s official taxi line with 15 other people ahead of you when someone calls out “taxi”.  You see a person who is well dressed motioning you to join them and you think this might be a better option than a regular taxi. However, this person is a scam artist, posing as a taxi driver, who may have no intention of taking you to your destination. You may be taken to a deserted area and then assaulted and robbed with no means off getting help.

Before accepting this type of offer, you must check whether the taxi has a company logo/name and that the company’s telephone number is plainly visible on the outside of the cab. If you do not see it, do not accept the ride. Furthermore, if you are unsure about where and how to catch an official/registered taxi if you are not at the hotel, you should ask the concierge of your hotel for a recommendation.

Another con involves a person who pretends to be some sort of transit police. They issue you with a citation for a minor infraction and the con involves you having to pay a certain amount of money to them. If you find that this is happening to you periodically or at any time, you have to be aware that it is a scam. When approached, ask the person for their official identification, what jurisdiction or office they are with and for the telephone number of their office/police station. When questioned in such a manner, the con artist may be scared off. If they are not, then let the person know you will take the citation and bring it to the nearest police station yourself.

A holiday can be a wonderful experience as you explore new destinations. You may never encounter any type of scam or con but it is better to be prepared and aware of what could happen. By doing so, you can truly relax and enjoy your holiday time away.

Edited by Honey 17/1/2020