From getting ridiculously overcharged on cab rides to unknowingly revealing credit card information, travel scams exist the world over.
Anthony Grant, CEO of FNB Foreign Exchange says, “While it is nearly impossible to know when you will be scammed, it is important to know what kinds of scams exist and what to do should the situation arise.”
Falling victim to a scam while travelling overseas can potentially ruin your travel experience and is likely to cost you money even if you have travel insurance, for example, if your luggage is stolen along with your passport, bankcards and cash. Grant suggests that before travelling, you take some time and do some research on common travel scams around the world and familiarise yourself with scams in the country you are visiting to be aware of the typical tactics used by scammers.
- Bogus travel agents
The convenience of booking an entire travel itinerary online can be appealing, but learn how to identify bogus travel agents. The first thing that should raise your suspicions is a travel package that seems too good to be true.
Never pay for anything unless you are really certain you are dealing with a reputable firm. Fake agents create sites that look real and once you have given them your credit card details, they can simply deduct money in exchange for a non-existent overseas trip. Upon enquiring you will discover that the website was set up to cheat unsuspecting travellers.
- Currency short-change
Some unscrupulous vendors take advantage of foreign travellers by claiming you have underpaid them – a common ploy to confuse and get more money out of you simply because you are not familiar with the local currency. Make sure you understand the currency so that you are able to count the change that’s handed to you.
- Counterfeit entertainment tickets
When travelling for leisure, entertainment is top of mind, but never buy tickets to music shows or sports matches from a stranger on the streets. The aim is to dupe you into believing you are getting a bargain when in fact you are being scammed. If there’s an event you would like to attend, purchase your tickets from a reputable outlet.
- Fake guides
Do not accept help from any random strangers who introduce themselves as tourist guides, as they could be part of a criminal syndicate. Their modus operandi is to lure travellers into spending money on expensive items or excursions for which they get a commission. Always be cautious before accepting help from anyone offering to take you around site seeing. To safeguard against scams, always use a guide allocated to you by the travel agency.
- Card fraud
If someone from your hotel calls you to verify your bankcard details over the phone, decline politely and proceed to the front desk to check if this call is legitimate. Scammers can get hold of your information and once you have given your card details you will notice transactions coming off your account that are not related to your trip.
Scammers are not easy to spot and they appear normal; the biggest lesson is to never let your guard down when traveling overseas. It’s important to always exercise caution before and during any trip. Grant advises researching the country you’ll be visiting and looking at reputable payment providers such as PayPal as an additional payment option before you travel.
Source: FNB. Image: Pixabay