Thursday, April 12, 2012

To avoid tourist scams 2012

. Thursday, April 12, 2012

Traveling Asia can be a rewarding experience, whether it is your first time or you are a veteran. But many tourists often find their experience turning sour after falling victim to one of many scams perpetrated worldwide. Fortunately, many of the scams follow a similar pattern, one that you can take advantage of. The typical traits that tourist predators exhibit are easy to spot if you are vigilant.

1. Watch out for unnecessary contact, especially in crowded cities like Ho Chi Minh, Ha Noi, as it could be a pickpocket scheme. The Observer, a widely distributed British newspaper, warns against bird or animal dropping scams where a gel is squirted onto the tourist and a “friendly” tourist tries to wipe it off. While doing so, your wallet is lifted. Also, watch for people who seem to clumsily bump into other tourists. This is another pickpocket scam.
2. Watch for seemingly angry service providers like the cab driver, merchant and café owner. Scammers count on the politeness of tourists for schemes that include exchanging a larger value note for a smaller one, taking you to a hotel that isn’t the one you requested or accusing you of carrying counterfeit currency. When you object, the cab driver/waiter/sales person grows angry and starts shouting. This is a scam. To test it, stand your ground and offer to get the police or embassy involved to sort things out
3. Ignore anyone who approaches you offering something or trying to strike up a conversation. According to the Guardian, some of the most famous schemes begin with a native of the country approaching you to strike up a conversation. Couples or students asking for help in learning English also use this scam. They will steal your valuables and passport, lure you somewhere for a robbery or place you in the hands of another scammer.
4. Check the ATM machines for faux customer service numbers and skimmers. The sign will ask you to call a number where you’re asked for personal information about yourself and your account. The next thing you know, your bank account or credit card is missing funds. Reuters Life describes such a scam as a common one in India.
5. Beware of special “deals,” “ritual,” and private, exclusive events. The goal is to get you into an apartment or room where you will be coerced into paying an exorbitant fee for tea or some other service. Some tourists find themselves in a violent robbery, according to the Economist’ Gulliver. Some black market currency dealers use this scam to take your real money in exchange for counterfeit bills.

Tips & Warnings

To stay safe on your trip, do not engage in conversation with complete strangers and look to your concierge for directions.The U.S. State Department urges tourists to contact the nearest embassy if they fall victim to scams or crimes. The embassy or consulate agents may also alert you to more specialized scams to watch out for in the area.

source hugotalk
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