pick pocketer

Common Travel Scams and How to Avoid Them

A trip, whether for business or for pleasure, can quickly go astray when you find that you’ve been the victim of theft or fraud. Read on to discover some of the scams that often target travelers, and learn how you can avoid them.

“Broken” cab meters

The scam

A taxi driver tells you that his or her meter is “broken” and then overcharges you for your ride.

How to avoid

Ensure the meter is working when you get into a taxi or negotiate a flat rate with the driver before getting into the car. If you don’t feel comfortable, find a different driver.

Closed hotels

The scam

A cab driver lies and tells you that your hotel is closed or full and instead suggests a different, cheaper option. Oftentimes, unbeknownst to you, they are getting a kick-back for the referral.

How to avoid

Always go to the hotel your travel management company booked for you. If there is a problem with your itinerary or any reason to change course, your agent would alert you.

Card skimmers

The scam

A skimmer is placed on an ATM in order to steal information from the magnetic strips on bank cards when they are inserted or swiped.

How to avoid

Carefully inspect ATMs before inserting your card. If anything looks off, such as glue around the slot where your card goes, try a different ATM or walk inside the bank to complete your transaction.

Unsolicited hotel phone calls

The scam

A scammer calls your hotel room claiming the be the hotel staff. They say that there was a problem with your credit card and that you will need to provide the information again.

How to avoid

Never give out credit card information over the phone. If you need to clear up a billing issue with the hotel staff, speak about it in person.

High exchange rates

The scam

Many currency exchange business advertises that they don’t take commission on exchanges when in reality, their exchange rates are far higher than the norm.

How to avoid

If possible, exchange currency before your trip at a bank or via a trusted online source.

Stolen RFID information

The scam

A scammer uses a reader to scan the RFID chip found on your passport, ID or credit card in order to steal the personal and financial information stored.

How to avoid

Purchase an RFID-blocking wallet, sleeve or bag that will completely block scanners from being able to access your information. Keep your passport closed as much as possible.

Public distractions

The scam

A child comes up to you asking for help or you are shoved/bumped by a stranger while walking on the street or riding on public transportation. While you are distracted, a pick pocketer steals your wallet.

How to avoid

Remain alert and aware while walking around in unfamiliar territory. Keep your wallet safely tucked away in a money belt or in your front pocket.

Misleading rental information

The scam

An Airbnb, or similar rental service, host posts a fake, duplicate or misleading listing that puts you in an unsafe situation.

How to avoid

As a rule of thumb, you should never utilize Airbnb for business travel (in fact, you could be breaking the law if you do!). Always consider hotels, which offer safety and reliability, over rentals.

Remaining educated, alert and aware while on the road is your best protection against falling victim to a scam. If you have any questions or concerns about upcoming travel, don’t hesitate to give Professional Travel a call.

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