If you’ve not been scammed while traveling, you are one of the lucky few.
My friend Lisa was scammed twice a day after landing in Thailand, but she is not alone. There’re thousands of stories of travelers being scammed one pretext or another. Well, traveling has its own set of risks, which involves scammers getting the better of travelers whenever they drop their guards!
After a short taxi ride around a famous tourist destination, you might realize that you’ve been charged double for the ride. These stories might irritate you at the moment, but they might become a joke over time. If the term “scam” makes you wary of going to your dream destination, it’s time you learn about the widespread scams that you might encounter while traveling. Let’s look at how you can use your common sense to avoid scams while traveling without further ado.
Suspicious taxi meter
Don’t trust a taxi driver who says that the taxi meter is a broker or a taxi whose meter seems to be moving at a suspicious pace. Traveling abroad comes with multiple challenges, especially the language barrier that makes you wary of every word being uttered by people around you. However, if you want to avoid the “Taxi” scam, you must know the exact taxi fares. The best place to get an idea about taxi fares is the hotel where you’re staying.
Call the hotel manager and any other random staff to understand the fare system or charges for hiring a taxi. The next step is negotiating with the cab driver, but you should always quote the exact price and hop on only after he/she agrees with you. If you find yourself in a taxi with a funny meter, then immediately ask the cab driver to stop and get down from the cab. The majority of the top tourist destinations have a complaint system where you can register your complaint about a particular taxi driver; however, you must have the taxi number or the driver’s ID for writing a complaint. However, there are many other ways for cab drivers to trick unsuspecting tourists.
The accommodation closed or unavailable
Another common trick up the cab drivers’ sleeves is telling you that your hotel or accommodation is either overbooked or closed. Now, such a piece of vital information on your way to the hotel might be extremely unsettling but don’t fall into the taxi drivers trap.
Take a deep breath and ask yourself a few questions:
Why would a hotel take a booking from you when it was already closed or overbooked?
Well, even everything sounds so unreal, but still, there’re a few who would walk into the driver’s trap without stepping back and thinking. Always keep in mind that Google has an answer for almost anything, and it can indeed find you suitable accommodation. Thus, without worrying, you can calmly yet firmly tell your driver to take you to the booked hotel. If he still insists, ask him to pull the car aside and hop off. Book a new taxi to your hotel or call up a cab on Uber.
Showered with Unwanted Gifts
One of the common tricks in Europe is that a friendly individual would approach you and smooth talk you into accepting a gift in the form of a bracelet, rosemary or just a random object. Once you accept it, they will start demanding money for the same and create a scene to embarrass you into paying up.
You must be very careful and not accept gifts from strangers and if they keep insisting, simply return it and ask them to back off. Walk away from strangers trying to be too friendly with you because they won’t follow you.
If you frequently visit Southeast Asia, you must have surely availed the rental bikes that - an inexpensive way to move around a city or town. However, it’s also quite likely that you might have fallen prey to the motorbike scam. Yes, bike owners start overcharging or demanding money for repair jobs. They claim to have detected some damages, but in reality, this might all be a scam to lure money out of you.
Now, this scam can be easily avoided if you take photographs of the bike before renting. You must click the photos in the owner’s presence so that he/she has no ground to charge you more when you return the bike. Additionally, you must use your own lock as owners can send people to damage or steal the bike. Buy travel insurance so that even if there are damages, you can make claims against the same.
While traveling, people often end up using public Wi-Fi networks, and this can lead to digital fraud. Yes, there’re hackers waiting to hack into your phone or laptop anytime you connect to an unsecured network. You don’t want foreigners to mess with vital personal and financial information stored on your phone or laptop. Thus, it’s imperative that you install a secure VPN on all your digital devices, which offers end-to-end data encryption, even when you’re using a public Wi-Fi network. A VPN is the best way to secure your vital data and yet carry on working with your device.