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Travel Guide: 7 common travel scams around the world and how to avoid them

If you’ve ever been a victim of a travel scam, then I bet you know just how horrible it is to be one.

Here’s the thing, shady people like to take advantage of tourist. Some of us have experienced it before and it wasn’t such a good one as we were almost discouraged from travelling ever again. But knowing the common travel scams around the world will help you avoid them and better still, teach you what to do should you find yourself in one.

1. Ridiculous taxi charges

A lady about to take a rideplay

A lady about to take a ride

(Uber Nigeria)

In the same way, Uber and other comfortable transport services work with a price meter, most car services outside Nigeria and around the world operate with meters. But then some cab drivers near airports pull this scam. When you get into a taxi and start to drive, the driver will inform you that the meter is broken and charge you a ridiculous price.

The best way to avoid this is to negotiate rates just before you start your ride or ensure the meter working before you get in the car. If the taxi driver refuses to turn on the meter, or tells you it’s cheaper without the meter, get out and opt for another driver.

2. Fake police officers

Nigerian police officersplay

Nigerian police officers

(Calitown)

Nearly every one of us fidgets at the sight of a police officer approaching us with allegations especially when you are in another country.

The fake police officer scam is a popular one in many large cities. Most often, a person will approach a tourist and offer illicit items, like drugs. While conversing one or two other people will approach, appearing to be police officers and flashing “badges.” They will then insist the unknowing traveller hand over their passport and wallet. However, they are not police officers.

The best way to avoiding this is never hand over your wallet or passport. Request they show you their identification and then inform them you will call the police to confirm they are who they say they are. Or tell them your passport is locked up in the hotel safe, and they’ll need to accompany you to your hotel. If they don’t allow this, simply walk away.

3. Fake hotel call

A lady making a callplay

A lady making a call

(Booking.com)

While staying at a hotel, you get a call from the front desk in the middle of the night to confirm your credit card details. Only it isn’t the front desk calling, it’s a scammer who will drain your accounts when he makes a copy of your card using the details you give him over the phone.

To avoid this, avoid giving your details over the phone. Wait till morning, then go to the front desk officer to confirm what exactly they want.

4. Overbooked hotel or closed accommodation

This scam is usually done by most cab drivers. While driving you from the airport, they’ll tell you your hotel/accommodation is closed or overbooked and suggest taking you to another, which is usually more expensive just so they can receive a nice fat commission.

To avoid this, call the hotel in advance just so you’re sure they are still rooms available. If your taxi driver tells you the hotel is not available, insist that he take you there anyway. Tell him you already have a reservation (even if you don’t).

5. Spills on your clothes

Bird poop on a man's clothplay

Bird poop on a man’s cloth

(Good housekeeping)

Someone mistakenly (or purposely often times) spills something on you. They are profusely sorry and offer to clean it up, dabbing the stain, and apologising. While you are all flustered, they are picking your pocket. By the time you realise what has happened, they are long gone.

The best thing to do in situations like this is to not allow someone to help you. Instead, go to a restroom and clean the mess off yourself.

6. ATM scams

Collecting money at an ATM standplay

Collecting money at an ATM stand

(Twitter)

Someone approaches at an ATM cash machine to help you avoid local bank fees. What they really want to do is scan your ATM card with the card skimmer in their pocket and watch you enter your pin number so they can drain your account later or they insert the device to the mouth of an ATM and secretly note down credit and debit card information when customers slip their cards into the machine.

To avoid this, never let anyone near you while you’re making an ATM transaction and in fact always use ATMs in reputable banks and if the ATM sucks in your card, refusing to give it back, then go into the bank immediately.

7. Fake transport ticket

play NRC ticket (Techpoint)

Someone offers to sell you tickets at a discount, or avoid the line and pay a slightly higher price. These tickets, often times, aren’t real and before you get a chance to figure that out, they’re are gone,

Always buy your tickets either at the transport office or their official website.

Nobody likes to be scammed or tricked in any way to remove money from his/her pockets. What best way can we avoid this or minimise such occurrence than to be informed?

Don’t stop travelling, especially if you enjoy doing so, just be aware of these and have fun wherever you find yourself.

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