You’ve saved and planned and you’re excited to take your next vacation. Don’t let it be ruined by unscrupulous criminals looking to rob you of your funds…or your fun! Be save and avoid travel scams that can ruin your trip.
Here are give common scams used by criminals to prey on travelers. Learn how to recognize these travel scams, avoid them, and protect yourself and your hard-earned money.
1. The Fake Phone Call
During the early hours of the morning in your hotel room, your phone will ring pretending to be the front desk. They will insist that a technical issue has occurred and that they require your credit card details immediately.
Many people in their slumber state will unwittingly give out their information to a thief in such scenarios.
Never provide your credit card number over the phone, when you are the recipient of a call. The hotel most likely already has your credit card on file. If not, tell them you will stop by the front desk in the morning.
2. Danger in WiFi Hotspots
In hotel public places, such as the pool or game rooms, you might wish to log on to the WiFi through your tablet or mobile. Criminals create fake WiFi hotspots to be able to easily access your activity to steal passwords and money.
Airport hotels and most major international hotels will provide safe and secure connections. Be certain you are selecting the right hotspot. Verify with the hotel the exact name of their WiFi. Thieves will try to use a name that is similar to the hotel, so be careful.
Also make sure to use your own cell phone charging cable and cube. A relatively new concept called “juice jacking” has tricked many people into having their phones hacked.
3. Vacation Rentals
You have spent thousands of dollars on airfare and the accommodation of your dreams. The owners tell you everything about the neighborhood and the house amenities such as a pool, washer and dryer, fully stocked kitchen, etc. They will send you photos of the house and the rooms. You arrive only to find out the house does not exist or that another person actually owns and occupies the house.
To avoid this scam, only use reputable rental websites and always read the reviews of people who have previously rented the same property or through the same host. Airbnb, even though used by many people, has been reported as having bait-and-switch issues.
4. Invalid Phone Credit
This scam is exceptionally frustrating. A shop will claim to add credit to your mobile phone and insist that in the next several minutes, a text will be sent to your phone verifying that the funds have been added. This text will never come and any chance of retrieving the funds will be futile. These criminals will insist that you used all of the minutes before you returned to the shop and that you deleted the confirmation text. Carefully select reputable businesses to complete such transactions.
5. Hotel Switch
A hotel switch is relatively common in certain parts of the world. Once you arrive to the hotel, the front desk will claim to be fully booked and assure you they have arranged for you to stay in alternative accommodation of superior quality. The new hotel will often be of far inferior quality than the hotel of your original booking and cost significantly less although you will never see the difference.
Of course, there are many more travel scams. New ones are thought up every day. When you travel, be smart. Make sure you work with reputable companies and that you have an emergency plan in place. We hope you can use these tips to avoid being a victim.