We all look forward to our holiday, once we have made all our arrangements for flights, hotels, car rentals, packing and gathering necessary documents. This is the time when we can relax, have fun and refresh ourselves for 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 where matching clothes. The first way to not look like a tourist is to try to blend in with the locals. Do some quick research on the Internet about your holiday destination and that will usually give you enough information so you can 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 the front desk. The person on the line claims there was computer glitch and reads the last four numbers of the credit card and ask 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. When you do so and they claim all is well, you have been scammed.
When this happens, immediately hang up and either call or go to the front desk and ask if there had been any questions about your credit card. Most likely they 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 people ahead of you and someone calls out “taxi?” There is a person nicely dressed motioning you to join him and you think this might be better 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 to get help.
Before accepting this offer, check taxi for its company name and car number plainly visible on the outside. If you do not see it, do not accept the ride, and furthermore, if you are unsure about where and how to catch a proper taxi if you are not at the hotel, check with your hotel concierge for a recommendation.
Another con comes from a person pretending to be some sort of transit police and giving you a citation for a minor infraction, requiring you to pay a certain amount. If you find that this is happening to you periodically or at any time, it really is a scam. When approached, ask the person for some type of identification, what jurisdiction or office they are with and for a number to their office. When questioned in such a manner, the con may be scared off. If not, then let the person know you will take the citation and bring it to the nearest police station.
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 can happen. By doing so, you can truly relax and enjoy your holiday time away.