While traveling anywhere in the world, even within the UAE, you can fall prey to con artists who can take you for a ride. Yes, from being overcharged on cab fares to revealing your card details unwittingly, as a tourist on foreign soil you are quite vulnerable to travel scams.
While it is difficult to assess that you are about to be ripped off, it pays to know the travel scams that are commonplace. Take a look.
Tampered Taxi Meter
Be it near airports, markets, railway stations, or other places of sightseeing interest, cab drivers are known to tamper with their meter to charge ridiculous prices. One way of avoiding falling prey to this scam is by negotiating the rate beforehand or by ensuring that the meter is working properly before getting into the cab.
Closed or Overbooked Accommodation Facilities
While en route to your pre-booked hotel, motel, B&B, or any other place of stay, you may be informed about the closure or overbooking of the same by your cab driver. In case you fall for the scam, you will be steered to a more expensive place that fetches the driver a neat commission. It is recommended that you call up your hotel to confirm that it is open and has your booking in place. You may also want to request a shuttle service for a pickup to avoid local cab drivers.
Be Wary of Spills
You may be idling somewhere or taking a leisurely stroll when something plops on your head or clothing – it may be a fast-food condiment, bird shedding, or anything else. Out of nowhere, a stranger would approach you with a cloth and an intent of cleaning the offending mess while fishing your wallet away. The best way of avoiding this travel scam is by keeping such helpful strangers at bay and asking for a restroom for cleaning the spill yourself.
Fake Vigilance Authorities
You may be approached by a person impersonating as a police officer; he would be uniform-clad apart from flashing a badge and fake ID. He would insist that you hand over your wallet and passport to avoid arrest. Simply request the officer to accompany you to your hotel wherein you have locked your passport and money. In all probability, the offender will let you go and vanish into the blue.
Sightseeing Attraction is Closed
This is one of the most common travel scams in major tourist areas, globally. Just when you are planning to start for a local attraction, you may be informed that it is closed for a holiday, religious ceremony, etc. Thereafter, the cab driver may take you to a different attraction or store where you have to dole out a high entry fee or are pressurized into buying something that you may not need, ever! Instead of believing it all, check for yourself or confirm the information by asking another person in the vicinity.
Do not forget to purchase travel insurance online to keep the concerns of baggage loss, missed flights, failed itinerary, and cashless medical treatment on unknown lands away. Even while you’re traveling, never let your guard down and watch out for scammers. Keep in touch with local friends and acquaintances and cross check if anything seems out of place to you.