Revealed: Holiday Scams
It has been reported that UK holiday makers lose £7m a year to fraudsters according to the BBC. We have put together the most common ways to be tricked so you can avoid them this summer.
Too cheap to be true holiday deals
Whether you're booking flights, hotels, travel arrangements, day trips or concert tickets, make sure the seller is legit. If the deal is too cheap to be true, it usually is. Make sure your booking company is a member of The Travel Association (ABTA) or the International Air Travel Association (IATA).
Airport scanner scam
Keep an eye on your belongings when you put them on the conveyor belt to be scanned and keep an eye out for the people collecting their belongings at the same time. People have been known to work in pairs with one thief going through the scanner first and the second to be stuck in the scanner by 'forgetting' to remove wallets, watches. While you're being stuck behind the first thief is busy helping himself to your belongings. Take as little valuables with you as possible and only put your belongings onto the conveyor when it is your turn.
Dodgy taxi drivers
One of the biggest scams is short changing tourists. The tourist is not used to the currency and generally hands over large denominations. The taxi driver may also tell you there is road works and offer to drive you to the nearest metro which would be cheaper, they then charge you the full amount and whiz back to the airport to pick up the next unsuspecting tourist. Use public transport wherever possible or ask the hotel to arrange a licensed taxi for you. Ask the receptionist to agree a fare over the phone with the taxi firm. When you get into the taxi, tell the driver the amount you have pre-arranged and tell them this is the only money you have. Only pay with small notes.
Counting your cash
This scam involves mixing up your bank notes with other currency or slowly counting out your notes, distracting you then pocketing some of the cash. A survey of British holiday makers identified that 40% of Brits could not tell the difference between a Euro and a Croatian dinar. Count your change yourself and make sure there is no dodgy currency hidden between the notes.
The box trick
This scam is notorious in Asia where contents of a box are swapped prior to the sale. This is especially common with electronic items, perfumes and cosmetics. You buy an expensive tablet, they pack it and you pay. When you open the box, its a different tablet. Make sure it's packed in front of you, or take your own bag and leave the packaging with the seller.
Drop it and pay
It has been known for some frausters to pray on innocent tourists by accusing them of damage and demanding compensation. This could be by someone walking into you, dropping something and then blaming you for the damage to the item. Or it could be a pedestrian bumping into your hire car, writhing on the floor making lots of noise and demanding compensation. There is nothing you can do to avoid this scam, however if it does happen tell them you will only pay damages at a Police station. As a fraudster they are probably well known by the Police and this may be enough to see them off. Make sure you know how to get to a local police station, or have the police phone number to hand.
Don't let these scams put you off travelling, but make sure you stay on your guard to prevent yourself from becoming a victim, allowing you to enjoy your trip.