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Travel Scams to Avoid

October 9th, 2013 by The JetSetter Team | Comments Off on Travel Scams to Avoid

Slide1When you’re experiencing life in another country, you’ll likely be a little uneasy at first. While you’re taking in the new sites and sounds that await you, it is normal to feel a little bit overwhelmed. You may find yourself lost or without a sense of direction. In times when you look like the tourist you are, you are most vulnerable to scams. Though you’ll want to do a bit of preliminary research to identify location specific scams, this list of three will give you the upper-hand wherever you travel.

The Gold Ring Scam

Especially popular in Paris, the gold ring scam relies on the sympathy of the tourist. It happens like this—a person approaches someone who is obviously a tourist (fancy camera, large map) and pretends to pick something off of the ground. With their palm outstretched, they’ll inquire if the ring they just “found” belongs to you. You’ll say no, and they’ll make up a reason they can’t keep it, which can range from “it’s against my religion to wear jewelry” to “you’re a guest in this country, it belongs to you.” Ideally for the scammer, you’ll take the ring as a gift. Then, they’ll ask for a small donation in exchange for the “gift”. The ring is worthless, you’ve given them money, and you’ve potentially rendered yourself an easy target for other scammers.

This scam is tricky because the person doesn’t look shady—women and children are often the perpetrators. To avoid being fooled, decline the ring and walk away. Assertiveness is key.

The Fake Call

When you’re staying away from home, your senses are already a little distorted. If you receive a phone call from someone claiming to be the front desk, you’re likely to believe them, especially if it happens in the middle of the night. The person on the other end of the line will claim a computer malfunction requiring you to verify your credit card information.

You’ll provide your information and wake up to a bunch of fraudulent credit card charges. If you refuse, they might threaten to throw you out of the hotel, etc. This scam has become a real problem, so much so that some hotels are warning guests that the person claiming to be from the front desk is a scam artist. To protect yourself, tell the person on the other end of the line that you’ll be happy to come down to the desk to personally confirm the information.

The Pretty Lady

Though this scam tends to target males, it could happen to anyone. A single traveler is approached by a good-looking person and asked out for a drink. There might be several variations of this scam—an offer of friendship, help touring the city, etc.
Ultimately, the scammer will be working in cahoots with the bartender, who will give you a bill much higher than it should be. A huge bouncer will be there to make sure you pay. They’ll all split your cash and call it a night. To protect yourself, insist that this friendly local (if that is truly what they are) goes to a place of your choosing.

Jason Hartman has traveled extensively and managed to come back alive every time—not everyone is out to get the traveler—by being aware and practicing caution, you are free to enjoy yourself throughout your trip (http://www.flickr.com/photos/paloetic/5284934266/)


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