Many people are planning trips abroad. If you are thinking about doing the same, read the following tips. You will be amazed at the ingenuity involved in some of the scams.
Notice how the con artists try to catch you off-guard.
• Family member call scam. You receive a call in your hotel room prompting you to call a specific number to get details about a family member in distress. Unknowingly, you call the Caribbean or Africa. Subsequently, your phone bill will reflect a charge of possibly hundreds of dollars.
• Diverting your attention scams. The thieves could spill ice cream on your shoes and/or squirt mustard, ketchup or water on you. They “help” you clean up and at the same time another thief will snatch your handbag, wallet or suitcase. They may also bump you and at the same time pick your pocket. Keep your wallet close to you and hang onto your purse.
• Police uniform con. Crooks in police uniforms approach you and show a phony badge. Next, they request to see your wallet for identification or to check the wallet for counterfeit money. If you hand over your wallet, it is gone forever!
• Fellow traveling victim. This “victim” approaches you and says he has just been robbed and needs money to eat, travel and get another passport. Don’t be pulled in and give the con artist money.
• “Your tire is flat” scam. The vehicle pulls alongside you and points at your tire. Resist the temptation to pull over until you are in a safe place. Otherwise, you may be robbed. The criminals could jump out with guns and take your valuables.
• Credit card rip offs. They happen abroad just like in the United States. Refrain from using your debit card abroad. Remember that the federal law says you can only be held liable for $50 of fraudulent charges on your credit card. The same is not true for a debit card. Your liability could be up to $500; plus it could take up to 10 days or more for the bank to refund the remaining amount of your money.
Here is more information on travel scams while traveling abroad provided by the website http://www.travel-security-and-safety.com/index.html.
There are countless travel scams that victimize travelers visiting and expats residing in foreign countries.
What are some of these scams?
This scam is used a lot in Ecuador. Here’s how it works. Criminals will squirt liquids (usually mustard, ketchup, or water) on tourists and steal their bags while “helping” to clean them off. Another variation involves criminals picking the pockets of travelers instead of snatching their bag.
Travelers walking alone or using public transportation will be accidently bumped into by one or numerous people. The person will politely apologize and slowly walk away. Unfortunately, during the incident the person pick pockets the traveler’s money or passport.
Mother and Baby
Travelers using buses are approached by a woman carrying a baby and are asked if she can use the vacant seat beside you for her baby. You agree and she places her baby beside you and your bag. You notice that during the bus ride the woman continuously keep readjusting her baby. Actually, the woman is a thief and is rummaging thru your bag and stealing your belongings.
Many travelers like to use large duffle bags or book bags while touring the sites or using public transportation. Criminals usually quickly spot these travelers and target them. The criminals will stand behind the tourists, cut the bottoms of their bags with a sharp razor, and steal the contents as they fall out. Most victims never realize that their bags have been cut until later.
Smash and Grab
Criminals will spot victims either driving alone in vehicles or taxis wait until they are stuck in traffic at a red light or stop sign. All of sudden criminals will smash the window of the vehicle, quickly grab the bags or purses inside, and flee the area. This is a common crime committed against female travelers.
While driving in your vehicle, another vehicle pulls beside you and starts pointing at your tire. You pull over to check the problem and discover that the other vehicle has also stopped to “assist”. Suddenly, two or more criminals jump out of the vehicle with guns and rob you.
You receive a phone call in your hotel room and the caller on the other end tells you that there has been an accident with one of your family members. The caller tells you to call a specific number to get more details. You call the number and later discover charges on your phone bill to usually a Caribbean or African country. Sometimes these charges are in the hundreds of dollars. As a result of these travel scams, the criminal receives a commission of the expensive call that you now have to pay for.
Business travelers and male travelers are usually the victims of this scam. They are approached by taxi drivers after coming out of night clubs or bars abroad and asked if they want to go to a local cabaret. The victim(s) agree and are driven to the location. After hanging out for a while the victim(s) is presented with a bill of $200 USD or more for services he never received. He is threatened with violence or police intervention if he refuses to pay.
Male victims or college students drinking in foreign bars are often approached by criminals who offer them drinks which are laced with drugs like scopolamine. These drugs render victims either unconscious or helpless, who are robbed or sexually assaulted by criminals.
These are a few examples of travel scams which victimize foreign tourists and expatriates in foreign countries all over the world.