Wallingford, CT - February 28, 2011 – This is the time of year when many people get away from the snow and cold weather and let down their guard as part of decompression from the day-to-day demands of work.
In many countries however, tourists who don’t pay attention to what is going on around them are an easy mark for con artists.
Our preoccupation with high-tech scams has taken the focus off some of the typical ways tourists are robbed or cheated using decidedly low-tech methods.
Tourists can protect themselves against most of these scams by being vigilant:Scams involving diverting your attention
These are some of the most common schemes that target tourists: Somebody “accidentally” spills a drink, drops ice cream or bumps into you. While the con artist helps clean up the mess, a second person steals a handbag, computer, or suitcase. In some cases the scammer might bump into tourists and simply pick their pockets.Your tire is flat
Registration stickers on rented vehicles help scammers identify tourists on the roads, and in this ruse, someone pulls up in another car and points to one of the tires, urging the driver to pull over. Resist the temptation. In some countries, if you pull over to the side of the road, you may be robbed at gunpoint.Fellow traveler “in distress”
As the name suggests, you are approached by a fellow traveler who claims he or she was robbed and needs money for food, a new passport and a ticket home. Though we may be inclined to help out, this is a common scam that appeals to our desire to be friendly. Resist the temptation. Statistics suggest it is likely a scam.Credit card fraud
Credit card fraud can happen virtually anywhere that plastic is accepted. Connecticut BBB recommends travelers refrain from using debit cards in other countries. Unlike debit cards, there is a liability cap on credit card transactions if the cards are lost or stolen. Travelers’ checks also provide solid protection against loss or theft.Police uniform con
When police officers approach us, we are taught to obey them. In some countries however, crooks may flash an official looking badge and ask to see identification. People who comply usually lose their wallets and contents if the “police officer” is a criminal who grabs the wallet and takes off.
Fear of being victimized should not ruin your vacation. Knowing how these common scams work can go a long way to help you recognize potential dangers and avoid them.