One of the great things about going on a tour is that generally, everything is safer. Because you’ll be in a big group, your tour guide will be with you most of the time. And, because things are very organized, you’re chances of falling into a dangerous situation are pretty rare. That being said, there are always scams to look out for in every country and every city you visit. Even though your tour is safe, you need to make sure you’re not susceptible to these common scams.
Here’s what to be on the lookout for:
1) Hotel Phishing Scams
One of the most common scams we see in hotels today actually has nothing to do with the hotel itself. You could be in the safest hotel there is, and still be vulnerable to Hotel Phishing Scams. (In fact, they are more likely to happen at nice hotels).
This type of scam occurs when a hacker calls your hotel room pretending to be the front desk. Normally, they’ll find a way to call you right after you’ve checked in and ask you to repeat your credit card number because “it’s not going through and they don’t want you to have to make the trip downstairs.”
Don’t ever give your credit card over the phone and if this happens to you, make sure you inform the concierge.
2) Gambling Scams
Often times in Europe you’ll catch people gambling in the street. Sometimes, the games are as simple as guessing which cup the ball is under. When you see everyone crowding around participating in the gambling, it seems like something fun. But, there’s a catch. Either the people involved are experienced gamblers, don’t mind losing a few bucks, or are in on it to help get the tourists to fall for it. It may seem enticing, but it’s better to walk away.
3) Tampered Taxi Meters
Another benefit of going on a tour is that your transportation will be organized. If you ever will need to take a taxi, it may be on the days when you’re out exploring the city on your own or when you’re trying to get to/from the airport. Sometimes, taxi meters can be tampered with causing you to pay a lot more than you should. To be safe, have your hotel call a taxi for you or research what the fare should cost for your trip. If you can manage, sometimes negotiating a deal with your driver before you get in (in places that don’t use meters) is a good way to go. Of course, you can always rely on services like Uber to keep you extra secure.
4) ATM Skimmers
If you plan on taking money out of an ATM while you’re abroad, know what you may be getting yourself into. In some areas of the world, like Southeast Asia, the ATMs can eat your card. But, what’s worse is when ATMs have skimmers installed on them, that will steal your card’s information. And, if you think that’s bad, ATMs in countries like Cambodia can sometimes dispense counterfeit money. Always use an ATM in a bank, check the machine for a skimming device, and if you want to be very safe, go to a place like Western Union to get your money.
5) People Getting a Little Too Close
A great aspect of traveling is having the opportunity to get to know another culture. Meeting people who speak a different language (in every sense of the word) is part of the whole experience. But, as you should anywhere you go, don’t ever get too close to anyone.
In some countries, children are notorious for begging for money. In other countries, women are very persistent in getting you to pay them money. And, in other places, people will come up to you and ask you to fill out a survey while their accomplice attempts to pick-pocket you.
Wherever you are, make sure you’re always on guard and don’t keep anything in your pockets. Also, while you might think you’re helping people, sometimes donating money to every child you see can do more harm than good.
Traveling on a tour is an amazing way to see another country without having to worry about the challenges of being in a different place. That being said, it’s still important to be aware of the different scams out there, in case you find yourself in a trap.
Words by Hana LaRock