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Be Wary of these Tricky Travel Frauds

Thursday, 20 June 2013
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You may think you can identify a fraud a mile away, but tricksters can fool you cleverly. You do not want to be robbed off your money or left stranded in a foreign land just because you trusted the wrong person. Being cautious is the first step to being safe in a foreign land. Follow it up with knowledge of some common travel scams, and you become well-equipped to protect yourself.

Think Twice before you Step into a Taxi

Drivers either charge expensive fares or they cheat you by asking for more money than that was agreed to when hiring the taxi. The best way to prevent yourself from getting duped is to use taxi services offered by airport authorities. You can also arrange for an airport pickup with your hotel.

Beware of the BirdÔÇÖs Poop

You are sightseeing and something like a birdÔÇÖs poop on your shoes catches your eye. Smell a scam if someone suddenly appears and offers to help you by cleaning your shoes. They clear not just the stain but your pockets as well!

Stay Away from these ÔÇ£FriendsÔÇØ

This fraud starts with a person asking you for help. He then proceeds to tie a friendship bracelet. While you are busy appreciating this sign of friendship, the trickster starts demanding money for the bracelet. His partner is nearby, threatening to empty your pockets if you donÔÇÖt agree to pay the said amount.

Be Careful with Your Money

If you are visiting a country where the currency value is low, ensure that you count your money more than once after exchanging your currency. You can be short-changed at the counters.

Raise your alert alarms if the person at the money exchange counter seems to be inordinately slow in counting the money. As he or she delays counting, you get frustrated and become less watchful; when they hand over a cash stack, you are relieved and ready to go without counting, an easy way to short-change you. Visit a trustworthy forex service provider to prevent such troubles. Enquire about forex services in the area and visit the one that is popular, or use a forex service that your friends or relatives have recommended to you.

Keep your Card Safe

Most travellers use a card instead of cash given the convenience that comes with it. Cards are equally prone to risks. Exercise caution, especially when you are using cards at bill counters. If the person at the bill counter gets glued to his or her mobile phone after taking your card for payment, he or she might be using the mobile phone camera to take a picture of your card. Use cash for payments, wherever possible.

This Innocent Snap can Cost You

You are busy taking photos and someone comes requesting you to take his photograph. The Good Samaritan in you readily agrees. As you get ready to take a picture with the personÔÇÖs camera or mobile phone, you find itÔÇÖs not working. As you hand over the device, the person pretending to examine it, drops the device. Bend to pick it, and chances are your pockets are already empty! Else, the person will fight with you to bear the expenses for repairing the device.

This Gold is not Worth the Glitter

This fraud starts with someone questioning you if the gold ornament they just found is yours. As you say no and proceed, the person confirms the value of the ornament and pleads you to buy it so that s/he can buy some food with the money. If you believe the story, youÔÇÖll be left with fake gold!

Check your Emotional Impulses

Your tear glands and sympathy hormones are triggered by the sight of this woman with a baby in her hands asking you to buy milk powder for her baby. She takes you to a shop and you buy the milk powder for her. You leave the scene with a sense of satisfaction while the woman and the shop owner are busy splitting the money.

A variant of the above scam involves a group of wide-eyed children surrounding you, holding placards with sympathy-raising messages. Even as you decide to help them with some money, some children in the group are busy ripping your pockets off.

Be Wary of Unsolicited Help

Be cautious of people who claim to be locals and volunteer to help you. Refuse their help at ATMs, where they are obviously looking to get hold of your PIN. Such people may speak to you in the guise of offering insider information about how thieves rob people in the area, and advising you to keep your money safe. DonÔÇÖt make the mistake of rearranging your purse for they take the opportunity to snatch it from you.

These are only a few examples of frauds that many travellers regularly fall prey to. Be attentive to your surroundings and take time to befriend someone, and you should be fine in any foreign land!


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Last modified on Monday, 16 February 2015 11:52