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Mar 10, 2018

Shady individuals love taking advantage of gullible tourists, and it is quite easy to become a victim if you do not remain careful throughout your journey. As seasoned travel professionals, we are not the average tourist, but getting scammed is still possible and it happens to the best of us. Through it is impossible to predict when you will be scammed, you can, however, learn what type of scams exist and how you can deal with such situations to make your journey as smooth and stress-free as possible.

Here are a few of the most common scams that you may encounter, while on your journey:

Damaged Taxi Meter

Cab drivers that you find near train stations or airports have been known to fool tourists by pulling this stunt. As soon as you get into the taxi and begin to drive, your driver will inform you that the meter is damaged and will charge you an insane amount at the end of the ride - often managing to rip off 100s of dollars from naïve individuals! In order to avoid such situations, make sure to ask your driver if the meter is working or negotiate the rates before you get in.

Free Bracelet Scams

Female travelers are the most common victims of the bracelet scam. During your trip, you may encounter a friendly man or woman who will place a free friendship bracelet on your wrist or give you a twig of rosemary as a symbol of good luck. Once they've handed the items over to you, they will demand some money in return, and if you refuse to hand over the money, they will create a scene. Refrain from allowing anyone to place anything on your body, and remain cautious of individuals offering you free stuff.

Clothing Spills

This scam is quite common in Europe. A tourist walking on the street will feel something drop on their back or shoulder, which might be bird poop or some food condiment. A stranger of friendly nature will then approach you and try to wipe off the mess whilst cleverly removing your waller from your back pocket. In situations like these, do not allow anyone to help you and go straight to a restroom to clean up the mess.

The Fake Officer Scam

This one is a common one throughout the world. A shady individual will approach you to offer drugs or other illicit items, and while he is offering you those items, two police officers will appear out of nowhere. They will then ask you to provide your passport and wallet. You have to remain cautious of such scams and never hand over any important documents to anyone. If you come across such a situation, ask the police officers for their identification and let them know that you will call up the police to confirm their identity. Alternatively, you can tell them that you've left your passport and wallet at the hotel safe - this is bound to scare them off!

Prevent Theft While Going Through Security

A lot of people put their guard down while going through security screening simply because it's "security", but the area is very susceptible to theft. One way thieves get away with stealing involves using the metal detectors as a distraction. While one person intentionally sets off the metal detector preventing you from passing through, an accomplice is stealing valuables on the other side. In order to prevent this kind of theft, make sure you are not putting your belongings into the machine until you are ready to walk through to the other side.

Protect Yourself from In-flight Theft

In-flight theft is more common than you'd think. It mainly occurs when passengers are sleeping or are distracted and the perpetrators can be fellow passengers or even flight attendants. To Keep your belongings safe while flying, don't leave any valuables in the pockets of your jacket if you hang it up, place your carry-on upside down in the overhead compartments so that the front pocket can't be accessed, lock your carry-ons if you can so that they can't be opened while you are sleeping or using the restroom, and don't place your bags under the seat in front of you with the pockets facing forward where the passenger in front of you could reach inside. Four things you should always keep on your person are your ID and passport, a credit card, your cell phone, and essential prescription medications. These items are the hardest to replace while traveling, so should anything be stolen or lost, you will at least have the essentials with you.

The fact of the matter is that no matter how equipped or prepared you may think you are, you may eventually end up falling for one of these scams. Because frequent flyers are so comfortable traveling, it is easy to let your guard down doing something you've done a hundred times. Staying up to date with common scams and ways theft occurs will help you stay vigilant and recognize red flags.

Protecting your personal data is also very important. Here are some tips for keeping your personal information safe.

Related Blog Posts:

Protecting Your Data While Traveling

Preparing for Unexpected Emergencies While Traveling

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