Travel to Go is pleased to bring you this guide to help you avoid travel scams. Around the office we like to refer to it as Travel to Go Scam Watch.
Travel scams are more and more common every year and potential travelers to be alert to some of the most common methods. To help you out, TravelToGo Scam Watch has compiled a list of a few of the most common travel scams.
Lady with a baby: This happens a lot overseas. A gypsy woman will walk towards you with a baby wrapped in a blanket and toss the child into your arms. In the confusion, her partner will grab your purse, wallet, camera, whatever might be available leaving you to care for the doll, or piece of wood, or whatever you just caught.
Spilled beverage or food: This is a variation of the “Lady with a baby” scam noted above. A person will approach you and spill either a large beverage or a tray of food on you. While they are helping you clean up his or her partner will run off with your valuables.
Newspaper in your face: Typically this is done by a group of noisy children. A group of them will run up to you laughing and waving newspapers around in front of your face blocking your vision and disorienting you. As with the other 2 scams noted above in the confusion the other kids will run through your pockets, grab your bags and take off with anything else they can get their hands on.
Money quick change: This one is a particular favorite of cab drivers. You will hand them a 100 and they will pretend to drop it and emerge with a 10 spot (or do the same things but switching a 5 for a 50). It is best to always carry small change with you and to avoid giving out large bills whenever possible. A variation of this technique involves switching out your bill for the same one but this time with a counterfeit bill.
Fake auto accident: This one is another favorite of cabbies. They will stage a fake accident, usually a mild tapping of two bumpers is all. And then they will get in an argument with the other driver and try to convince you that you will all have to go to the police station for lengthy questioning unless you pay a small amount (typically $20 to $50) to get the other driver to leave and forget the matter.
Front Desk Phonies: This is a common one in hotels. Someone in the lobby notes the arrivals of guests and then calls the room shortly after check-in relating that they lost the credit card information and asking for it again.
These tips should keep you from being taken by travel scams in the future. If you think you may have already been scammed in the past, your state Consumer Dept. or Attorney General may be able to help.
If you think you have been the victim of a scam be sure to contact the proper authorities as soon as you can. You can also contact your state Attorney Generals office.
At Travel To Go, we hope you have had — or will have — a great vacation this year! For more information feel free to visit our website by clicking here or go to www.traveltogo.com.