Travel can be great fun, but it sometimes comes with risk. As a newcomer to any city or country, you are easy prey for local thieves and scammers. That’s why you need to research a place well before visiting it and become familiar with its known tricks and scams.
Fake Wake-Up Calls
A recent Cheapflights.co.uk survey reports that fake wake-up calls are among the most popular travel scams. If you ever receive an unexpected call from the front desk regarding your credit card or reservation, say that you will not disclose private information over the phone and walk down to speak to whomever in person. Commonly, you will find that the staff never actually contacted you and that a scammer had simply called your room.
Refundable and Illegitimate Tickets
Careful where you buy train, bus, airline and event tickets. When buying from unknown sources, you face two potential risks:
- The individual will take your cash then promptly request a refund from the carrier/company with the original receipt, leaving you with a nullified ticket;
- The individual will give you a fake ticket that he or she made.
Fake ticket scams are popular outside venues and stations; these scammers pose as scalpers and helpful locals.
Thieves are most successful when their victims are distracted. That’s why many muggers work in pairs—one gets your attention while the other lifts something from your unattended bag. Street muggers perform various acts to distract you. For instance, someone might come up to you and pretend to be lost or sick. Likewise, a passerby may spill something on you, causing you to stop and clean yourself off.
Contrarily, look out for overly helpful locals. For example, someone who is keen to give you directions or show you around the city may demand unwarranted compensation. Similarly, if you ask the wrong person to take a picture, he or she may refuse to return your camera until you’ve paid for the photo.
Street and market vendors are notorious for selling fake, stolen and forbidden goods for cheap. Some do the opposite—they sell completely legitimate goods for a gross profit. It’s very easy for merchants to sell something at a higher price to unsuspecting travellers unfamiliar with market values in a new country.