Scammers and thieves target tourists, who may be travel-weary and are usually unfamiliar with their surroundings. So it isn’t surprising that many travelers worry about pickpockets. Travelers may also be concerned about being overcharged while using foreign currency abroad.
The Better Business Bureau shares the following scams:
• The late-night call from the “front desk” about a problem with your credit card. Scammers are hoping to catch sleepy travelers unaware and get their credit card number in the process. Hang up and call the front desk directly.
• The fake hotel Wi-Fi network. In order to steal passwords to your online accounts, scammers have reportedly setup Wi-Fi access points near busy hotels with lookalike network names. Before logging on to any unknown network, check with the hotel front desk for the correct network. Also, just because a Wi-Fi network has a password doesn’t mean it is safe. To browse safely, turn off file sharing, make sure your firewall is on and your operating system is up to date, and only share personal information on secure websites that start with “https”.
• The phony pizza delivery flier under your hotel door. As tempting as that pizza may seem after a long day of traveling or sightseeing, resist making the call and offering up a credit card for payment. Instead, check with the hotel’s front desk, a local phone directory or an online search to find legitimate, local food delivery.
• When traveling stateside or abroad, be aware that thieves work in groups so that, while one or more distract you, another can steal your wallet and other valuables.
• When traveling abroad, beware of unscrupulous taxi drivers who get a commission from certain hotels and tourist spots. They may tell you that your destination burned down or closed or that they don’t know where it is in order to take you to one of their locations.
• Prepare yourself by doing an online search for travel scams known to occur at your destination.
For more tips you can trust, visit the BBB’s blog at www.bbb.org/blog or call (509) 455-4200.
By Erin T. Dodge, BBB editor