Summer is upon us; despite the dismal weather we appear to have been graced with recently. With the UK expecting yet more rainfall over the next few days it’s no wonder people are looking to head abroad. But, in the haste to enjoy the sunshine, holidaymakers should ensure they are staying eagle-eyed and not falling into the tourist scam trap.
In a recent interview with The Express, we advised that it doesn’t really matter where you are travelling to, scammers and con artists operate all over the world, so wherever you are, remain vigilant. So, what scams should holidaymakers be looking out for this summer?
The Broken Taxi Meter
The scam: Though it is not advised, holidaymakers who hop in a cab without booking beforehand run the risk of getting caught by the broken taxi meter. Drivers will start to take you to your location and announce, mid-journey, that the taxi meter isn’t working. On arrival, the taxi driver will ask for an obscene amount of money and as there is no proof that the journey wouldn’t have cost that much there is very little else people can do than pay the amount.
Advice: Always book taxi’s and transfers through a company and avoid using curb-side cabs. Also, have a look at other modes of transport on offer. Public buses, bikes and trains can all add to the experience.
The Golden Ring
The scam: Common in France, a person will pick up a ring and claim it has been dropped by the holidaymaker. They will have no choice but to take the ring, to which the scammer will demand money for their ‘good deed’. Usually, more people will appear and surround the holidaymaker until they pay.
Advice: If approached by anyone on holiday just walk away briskly. Do not interact with these scammers and report any abusive behaviour or harassment to the local authorities. And it goes without saying; never accept anything from strangers; be it a ring, rosemary sprig or cash.
The scam: Quite possibly the oldest scam in the book; pickpocketing. Holidaymakers do not always have their eye on the ball, or their possessions, when exploring new areas and pickpockets take this as a prime opportunity. Most popular tourist hotspots will have signs warning of pickpockets, and holidaymakers will subconsciously pat their pockets to double check their possessions are still there – all under the eye of the scammer. Now they know where the valuables are kept, the job is easy.
Advice: Keep all possessions in an inside pocket or in a cross-body zipped bag and leave any valuables in the hotel safe.
The Hotel Inspector
The scam: Two scammers dressed as hotel staff will knock on the hotel door and ask to carry out a room inspection. Whist one of the scammers keeps the holidaymaker occupied, the other will be swiping any valuables that are on show.
The advice: Holidaymakers should never let anyone unexpected into their room without checking with reception that they are legitimate first.
The Fake Police
The scam: Rather worryingly scammers are known to impersonate police officers and issue on the spot fines to holidaymakers. As they look official, and no one wants to get in trouble with the law, the fines are often paid and the scammers walk away significantly wealthier than before.
The advice: It is not uncommon in some countries for police officers to ask to see holidaymakers’ ID or passport during random checks, but if something doesn’t look quite right, always ask to see official ID or call the police to check the officers are legitimate.