5 Tricky Travel Scams and How to Avoid Them

By Boston Chauffeur

Learn to identify and avoid the top five travel scams that can ruin your well-deserved vacation.

  1. Bogus Travel Agents – You search for a hotel or tour and find what looks like a legitimate website from a known company. But it isn’t. It’s a copy-cat version run by a scam artist who paid for a good search engine position. At best, after you make a payment, the hotel will honor your reservation-but probably at a higher price than you should have paid. At worst, you get nothing. How to avoid them: Take a close look at the website’s URL. Unsure if it’s right? Do a new search to find the company’s homepage and compare it to the first half of the link-any rogue characters, numbers, or symbols might mean it’s a fake. You should also never pay for a service via wire transfer or any other irreversible money-transfer system. To know that a travel agency is legit, you should see how high they are in the search page rankings, you can see how authentic they are there, they would use seo for travel agency to help with their company page being more visible to customers.
  2. Currency Short-Changing – A longstanding travel scam relies on tourists’ unfamiliarity with a foreign currency. This can take various forms: counterfeit bills, miscounting change, mixing smaller bills into what should be a pile of larger notes, etc. How to avoid it: Get to know the currency of any country you visit and limit the amount of foreign currency you exchange and have with you at any time. Get your foreign currency from an ATM, and put all your big-ticket purchases on a credit card. If you can find somewhere that has counterfeit detectors (usually tourist information desks have them) you can always check the validity of the notes before you try and spend them. If you realize that they’re fake, report them to the police.
  3. Counterfeit Event Tickets – These days, high-tech forging can make almost any piece of paper or cardboard look authentic. Don’t buy a high-priced ticket (or even a low-seeming one) to a sold-out event from someone on the street or via an uncommon website. You might be turned away at the gate. How to avoid: Buy from an authorized source-the box office or an online dealer that’s a verified re-seller.
  4. Fake Guides – Have you ever been walking in a tourist-frequented area and had someone approach you offering to be your guide? Of course, you would have no idea in this situation whether this person has any useful knowledge of the city, but you may be coaxed into a nearby store that they claim offers the “best” prices on local specialties. How to avoid them: Pre-arrange a guide through an official tourism office or a local travel agency so you can compare prices and know what you’re getting. I once arranged the best local guide I ever had through an American Express agency. A university history professor showed us the fantastic National Museum of Damascus in Syria.
  5. Credit Card Fraud – Online and mobile payments have made our lives a whole lot easier (a detailed study on the surge of this payment mode can be found here), especially in the e-commerce industry. However, its advancement might have also led us to witness a lot of payment frauds – both in the domain of credit cards and online payment wallets. The First National Bank also zeroed in on one of many potential credit card fraud risks: The familiar “verification call” gambit. In this travel scam, within a few hours of checking into a hotel, you get a call from someone claiming to be at the front desk who needs to “verify” the details of the card you used. Of course, that caller is a scammer with no connection to the hotel who just wants to get your card data. How to avoid that: In this, and any other situation, be highly suspicious of anyone who calls you asking for credit or debit card information, no matter how plausible the excuse may seem. Tell the caller you’ll be right down to settle the problem. You can also call the front desk to find out if there’s an issue with your credit/debit card. In the digital age, many scammers and fraudsters use online means to take your personal information for their own gain, especially your financial information. Using a VPN like betternet could provide you with that extra protection you need to keep your data hidden from prying eyes while you’re using the internet – this is especially helpful when connected to public networks. Don’t get caught out by not being prepared.

Take these steps to ensure that your vacation or business travel is scam free.

Source: Smarter travel Author: Ed Perkins

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