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If you are planning a holiday, it is wise to be aware of the six most common travel scams you might encounter on your journey. Travel scams vary from country to country, but a few scams are commonly found almost everywhere.
We have put together a list to help you stay safe during your adventure.
Unethical taxi drivers often illegally adjust the metre which results in exorbitant fees for the traveler. To avoid this, ask hotel or restaurant staff to call you a taxi from a reputable company. You can also opt to use an app like Uber to find local rides for fixed costs that you know in advance.
Travellers who have rented scooters, jet skis or bikes have reported returning them to angry proprietors accusing them of damage and threatening legal action. To avoid this common scam, remember to inspect and take photos of the rental with the proprietor before you leave for your adventure.
Another common scam is 'free' public Wi-Fi created by hackers to steal data from smartphones. To avoid this, never join an unsecured network and use a VPN when you're abroad. Most importantly, never access sensitive personal data while on an unsecured network.
Most of us rely on mobile devices for almost everything, especially when traveling. If your phone battery is dying, you may be tempted to use a public USB charging station - but beware that the convenience may backfire. 'Juice Jackers' install malware on cords in USB charging stations. This malware can lock infected phones and send data, passwords or even a full backup directly to the scammer. Best practice is to pack an external battery or personal charger to plug directly into a power outlet.
Pickpocketing is one of the oldest crimes in the world. A skilled pickpocket can make off with just about anything without being detected. Typical scenarios include 'bump and grab', where a stranger bumps into you and takes your wallet. Pickpockets might also 'accidentally' spill something on you and steal your belongings when cleaning it up. Vigilance is your best defence against thieves, so always keep your belongings tucked away on your person or in front of you.
When someone offers you a complimentary gift such as a hat, bracelet, or flower, it's rarely free. Once it's in your possession, you may be asked for payment, causing a scene so embarrassing that you hand over money to make it stop. The distraction may also be used by co-conspirators to steal easily accessible valuables from your luggage or backpack.
You've budgeted and planned for a vacation, but once you finally arrive, you may let your guard down. Being aware of common travel scams is a good financial strategy to keep you safe on your vacation. It is also a good idea to have Travel Insurance to protect against other risks.
Contact our office today if you have questions about travel insurance or other travel scams.
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