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5 common travel scams and how to avoid them

News Desk

The Jakarta Post

Jakarta  /  Wed, February 12, 2020  /  01:56 pm
5 common travel scams and how to avoid them

A traveler in a black hat looks at the Blue Mosque in Istanbul, Turkey. (Shutterstock/-)

Traveling is often an enriching experience but more often than not scammers around the globe are waiting to prey on unsuspecting tourists.

To ensure your holiday is an enjoyable one, stay on high alert for these common scams:

Corrupt cab drivers 

The broken cab meter is a frequently reported travel scam all over the world; the driver will claim the meter is broken and charge you an exorbitant price.

But the cab driver scams don’t stop there; USA Today reported some drivers will go as far as dropping a large note and picking up a smaller hidden one in an attempt to have you pay more.

The solution? Book a cab from a hotel or restaurant, always insist on using the meter and ensure you’re watching the driver when exchanging money.

Tour scams

A tour can be a great way to see the highlights of any destination, but travelers need to be aware of fake tours that can trick anyone out of hundreds of dollars. reported a Balinese tour guide charging deposits of up to US$200 and then failing to return the money, offering instead a myriad of excuses.

One way to avoid this is always ensure you’re going through a trusted company or guide, check the reviews and ask for recommendations.

Fake police

Fake police are extremely common around the globe and often travelers fall victim to fake authorities who are only out to make some easy money.

These smooth criminals will approach you, asking to search your wallet for counterfeit money. While they search your wallet, they’ll help themselves to your money. Other versions of the scam include requesting your passport and requesting cash up front.

One solution offered by is to never hand over your possessions before seeing police identification or to suggest visiting the police station to assess your items instead.

Read also: Five tourist scams you should watch out for in Europe

Be aware of the Wi-Fi

Wi-Fi is readily available in in almost all public spaces but Forbes warns unsuspecting travelers of phony airport Wi-Fi that can be used as a device for identity theft.

Scammers will create Wi-Fi hotspots with names almost identical to the airport's Wi-Fi, then access personal information from those who log in.

The recommended solution for this one requires close attention. As most airports have signs indicating their Wi-Fi name, be sure to stay on the lookout for copycat names that are nearly identical.

A not so happy snap

There’s no blaming the tourist who wants a photo of their holiday but warns of thieves who approach people by offering to take a photo, only to run off with their camera or phone.

Avoid this by never handing over your camera or phone to a stranger, no matter how pure their intentions are. If you absolutely need that special shot, invest in a selfie-stick. Or maybe just try living in the moment. (mad/kes)

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