March 12, 2021
Written by AVLCI
Travel scams are rampant, and the industry is filled with swindlers waiting for the right moment to pounce on gullible tourists. Whether we are frequent or first-time travelers, we must stay vigilant and learn to identify these travel frauds. This list contains some of the most common and intricate of schemes you should watch out for:
Fly-by-night Timeshares and Vacation Clubs. We know that as a frequent traveler, you would want to invest in a good vacation club or timeshare company. There are a lot of ways to check if a provider is legitimate or just offering another vacation club scam. For starters, there are shady agents who will press you into buying a membership via phone call and would never meet you in person. This is a big red flag.
Remember, timeshare and vacation clubs are a scam only if they are offered by illegitimate developers.
Photo by Lindsey LaMont
To know if the developer of the timeshare or vacation club is genuine, check if it is registered at the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Moreover, you can also research if it is affiliated with Resorts Condominiums International (RCI), the world’s largest vacation exchange network. If you are really interested to join one, why not choose the leading vacation club in the country, Astoria Vacation and Leisure Club, Inc. (AVLCI)? Through this, you’d be keeping yourself away from those pesky timeshare frauds that might cross your path. You can read AVLCI reviews here (avlci.com/testimonials) to know more.
Overpriced Taxis. This is possibly the first travel scheme you will encounter after checking out your luggage. Some of these drivers like to hang out at airport terminals. The most urbane of them will even attempt to contract with you with a “tourist-friendly” price, offering a quick tour of the city’s landmarks before dropping you off at the hotel. To keep yourself safe, remember to watch out for this one thing: the taxi meter. Take note of how the meter runs while en route. If the meter runs way faster than the cab, you are being duped.
Avoid this ploy by doing research on the area’s transportation process. To be safe, ask airport personnel for help too, and be sure to look for a legitimate taxi airport line. There are resorts and hotels that provide airport transfers, so be sure to inquire about them.
Photo by Mourad Saadi
The “Overbooked” Hotel. This travel scam rarely happens, but it does occur, and victims have shared their experiences of having to go through this stressful ordeal. It happens like this: you get inside your taxi and you are headed for your hotel. The cab driver casually starts a conversation and mentions that the hotel you are staying at is fully booked. He suggests taking you to a different hotel and says positive things about it like better rooms and amenities.
This scam is worth sharing because it is related to the “overpriced taxi” scheme. If the driver cannot scam you with his meter or “contract,” then he will probably use this as a last resort. Some taxi drivers partner with seedy hotel personnel, so the best way to avoid this is to stay at legitimate and well-known hotels and resorts. You should also be firm in stating that you want to get to your hotel and nowhere else. Also call your hotel (on speaker) and confirm your check in details.
Photo by Victor Xok
“Friendly” Pedestrians/Sellers. Be sure to be cautious when asking a stranger to take a photo of you. There are stories where travelers have their cameras stolen by “friendly” locals who are more than willing to take their photos. Watch out for these individuals at popular tourist landmarks. To be safe, always bring your own selfie stick and tripod!
Also learn how to say no when out shopping for souvenirs. Be wary of people suddenly urging you to go to their shops or slipping on a bracelet then demanding pay. Be vocal about it and never touch anything unless you really want to buy that item.
Photo by Thiebaud Faix
“Free” public WiFi spots. This is one of the newer scams. There are people who would set up “free” WiFi spots at popular tourist attractions and landmarks to fool unsuspecting tourists. They would usually name it “Free WiFi” or use the landmark’s name for added authenticity. What these fraudsters do is they steal data from your mobile or laptop once you are logged into their network. The only way to avoid getting your information stolen is to avail of pocket WiFi devices available at the airport.
Photo by Paul Hanaoka
We hope this list helps! Make sure to take note of these scams before you go on that much-needed vacation to keep yourself away from harm’s way.
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