Travel: Seven sneaky holiday scams

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Transport

When taking trips abroad, it’s vital to consider how you will travel throughout the country beforehand. Unregulated airport taxis could take advantage of the fact that you aren’t local and may be uneducated on typical fares. As a result, you could be charged extremely high rates or taken to the incorrect destination which pays the taxi a finder’s fee, rather than the hotel, restaurant or particular business you requested. To avoid this, travellers should always research reliable, licensed taxi firms rather than getting into the first one they see. In the majority of countries, taxi drivers are required to carry and display their ID badge in the vehicle. Always ask the driver what the fare will be, before starting the journey. If the driver refuses to show you their ID or pre-warn you of fares, book with another taxi firm and do not enter the vehicle.

Fake PCR 

Some countries now require travellers to report a valid, negative COVID test before entering their country. Amid reports that scammers have been caught conning holidaymakers with fake PCR tests and ‘fit to fly’ certificates, it is vital to always ensure that any PCR test you take is from a reputable source. If you’re travelling from the UK, you can purchase PCR tests from most pharmacies and report the results through the NHS app.

Hotels and Accommodation

When booking accommodation online, ensure to fully research the facility before booking. Look for reviews with images and check to make sure it’s a registered building. More and more adverts are appearing to show accommodation that isn’t real, outdated, and different to the visuals provided. By booking through reputable travel agencies, you can avoid illegitimate accommodation as the agency will cover all of the above bases for you.

Public Wifi

Most hosts will offer holidaymakers the services of their shared public Wi-Fi. While this is convenient, it’s key to remember that public Wi-Fi may not be as secure as your private network at home. When browsing the internet, make sure you don’t use sites and apps that involve inputting personal information, like contact details or bank card details. Alternatively, you can download a VPN, which will allow you to block any unwarranted third party companies from accessing your data.

Pickpockets

Pickpocketing is the oldest scam in the book, but now more than ever, scammers are becoming increasingly creative. Scammers may interact with you directly, to allow time for a third party to steal from under your nose while you’re distracted. When in crowded, public spaces, it’s always vital to keep your personal belongings close by. It’s best practice to leave valuables at home, but if you must bring them with you, store them in a money belt or bum bag to prevent theft.

Activities and excursions

When booking excursions or additional activities during your trip, always book through an official company. Some illegitimate companies may lack the health and safety precautions necessary to keep you safe abroad. The safest option is to book any extra activities or excursions directly through the official travel agency that you booked your trip with. If you choose to book with a third-party, thoroughly research the company beforehand and always look at previous customer reviews.

Gambling

Make sure to thoroughly research any casino games you may take part in while on holiday, to avoid being scammed. Casino staff may explain a game to you in a lengthy way to take advantage of the fact that you lack knowledge in this area. Scams.info have provided six famous examples of Vegas Casino scams in their recent article here.

Main Photo credit: Ross Parmly via Unsplash

Val Fraser

Val Fraser is a trained journalist with over 12 years’ experience working on staff in various demanding media environments. She has authored/edited thousands of articles including news, travel and features. Val has authored/contributed to nine non-fiction books. A regular columnist, she stepped up to the role of Digital Editor in September 2022 and is responsible for the Sorted Magazine website.
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