If you are planning a trip, there are some common travel scams that you need to be aware of. These include overbooking and closing hotels, fake police officer scams, overcharging for a taxi or tuk-tuk, and more.
Overbooked or closed hotels
If you’re traveling and have just been bumped off an overbooked flight, you’re not alone. The United States Department of Transportation has compiled a series of laws for airlines that protect travelers against overbooking. However, there are also a few hotel scams you need to watch out for. These can ruin your vacation.
One of the most common travel scams is to have a taxi driver tell you that your preferred hotel is closed. They may offer to take you to another hotel at a much higher price, or they could say the meter is broken and they can’t drive you. You should demand that the cab driver pick you up at the original hotel you booked.
Another type of cab-driver scam is the one where you’re charged an outrageous fee for transportation, even when the meter is not broken. This is a great way to avoid common travel scams. When you call a reputable taxi company to book a ride, you can ask them to use a taxi app to ensure that the driver is real.
A third-party booking site is another way to avoid hotel scams. Many of these sites look like legitimate sites. In order to be sure, check the URL of the website. Also, check whether the site is licensed. Using a fake website can be a huge mistake.
Some hotels are willing to give their guests a free night’s stay when they’re overbooked. Some resorts also cover the cost of the phone call to re-book guests. But you have to be aware of the fact that this isn’t a legal way to get a refund.
It’s always better to pre-book your tickets so you can avoid the common hotel scams. And it’s easier to do so than you might think.
Fake police officer scams
The fake police officer scam isn’t as rare as you might think. These con men have been known to rob tourists in Europe and Peru. Fortunately, there are a few things to do to avoid being ripped off.
First and foremost, avoid handing over your wallet to anyone. This includes not only your hotel room concierge but also people at the airport or the local pub. Another tip is to ask for proper identification before making the exchange. If you aren’t sure of the person’s credentials, walk away.
A fake police car may not be the best option. Rather than stopping you for a speeding ticket, they may offer to issue a fake minor infraction. However, be sure to pay the fine in person and not by phone.
Another less obvious tactic is to entrap you with fake police badges or a small gift. Usually, the imposters are more interested in taking your money than your life. Some of them are even brazen enough to try to steal your passport. It’s a good idea to call the police if you think you’ve been a victim of this crime. Typically, legitimate officers will let you go without a fight, but you’re still advised to be on your guard.
Scams happen in every city, but they tend to be more common in big urban centers. Be on the lookout for the following: a fake police car, an overzealous guard or security guard, and an imposter. To avoid the pitfalls, make sure you ask the appropriate questions and never give out your personal information to anyone. There are many legitimate police agencies in the world, so don’t be hesitant to ask for help if you feel like you’re being scammed.
Overcharging for a taxi
The best way to avoid these types of scams is to book an approved taxi, such as the cab service that your hotel offers. While most drivers are not looking to take your business, some do. If you are in doubt, ask the driver to provide a quote before booking.
While you are at it, make sure to read up on the local laws and regulations in your host city. Many cities require drivers to wear a uniform and be licensed. A taxi driver who doesn’t follow these rules is likely to be thrown out on the street. Also, be wary of a driver who won’t show up at your door. Even if he does arrive, he could be a time waster.
While the top of the line cab may be worth the ride, you should be aware of shady operators. For instance, a tuk tuk driver could be in it for the long haul, especially if you happen to be in an unfamiliar city.
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