Source: 2019-20 Consumer Sentinel Report
We all love getting away from the grind and spoiling ourselves with some well-deserved rest and relaxation. You get to meet many wonderful people whilst travelling, however you have to be vigilant to stay safe and avoid scammers. When you leave your familiar home environment scammers try to take advantage of the fact that you are out of your comfort zone. Some of the scams to watch out for include:
Nearly everyone that has been overseas has probably been witness to a taxi driver that tried to overcharge them or claim that their meter is broken or drive them “the long way” to their destination. It is a particularly common scam at airports catching out new arrivals. This scam can often be avoided with a little bit of preparation. If you are staying in a reputable hotel, it is a good idea to contact them before you arrive and ask them about the best way to get to them and what is the approximate cost. Check the route using Google maps so you can gauge the length of the trip and approximate travel time. Use licensed taxis and if they tell you their meter is broken politely decline and find another driver. Always be courteous but firm and speak up if you feel like something is not right.
This scam is most commonly reported in parts of southeast Asia. Operators rent out equipment like jet skis or motorbikes to tourists. In some cases, scammers take passports or drivers licenses as part of the deposit. When you return the rental, the operator claims that you have damaged the equipment and they pressure you into paying for the repairs. This is a tricky one to avoid and if you get caught up in it you may have to pay you way out particularly if the scammers start getting aggressive. The most important thing is never ever hand over personal items like your passport, credit card, keys or driver’s license to someone that you don’t know.
Scammers use a "card skimmer" to steal your credit card information from the magnetic strip on that back of your card. Skimmers can be attached to any credit card reading device including ATM's to harvest the data and use it to commit fraud. In the case of ATM's scammers will hide a camera to record people entering their pin numbers. Most credit cards now have a chip so the magnetic strip is just a back up. The chip allows contactless payment "tap and go" instead of inserting your card into a machine. If you have a phone or smartwatch with NFC you can pay via Apple Pay or Google Pay which have additional security so your data is not exposed. If you notice unusual transactions on your credit card report it to your bank of financial institution immediately.
Many of us need to be connected at all times, and many of the services that we use rely on an internet connection. When you are travelling your cell phone service provider may allow international roaming, or you buy a SIM plan from a local provider. Many of these plans have will have restrictions on data and/or the cost of data is much higher. This means you might become more reliant on WiFi services. Many public places like airports, cafes, and grocery stores offer free WiFi internet connections. While it is tempting to quickly login to check social media, read the news, check your bank account or send a few messages to friends, it is not worth the risk. Scammers use a number of tactics including hacking into the networks or creating similar named networks to trick you into logging in, to steal your personal data. The best advice is don't use public WiFi but if you have to you should always use a VPN service which will encrypt your data.
We all want to find that dream holiday rental, booking can be competitive and when you find a place you like, you want to lock it in before anyone else does. Scammers use a few tactics including creating fake listings, hijacking a real listing and posting them on other rental websites with their contact details or hijacking the email account fo the listing agent or property owner. If they ask you to wire money for any kind of upfront payment like a security deposit it is probably a scam. There are a few things you can do to check that the listing is legitimate. Search other rental websites to see if the same property is available and cross check the contact details. Find the details of the agent on the web and call their office direct to verify the listing. book through established travel booking sites and use their credit card facilities for payment.
If your Uber driver is a no-show, be sure you follow up and make sure you're not charged a cancellation fee—you could be falling into a scammer's trap.
Before you settle into your Airbnb, take as many photos and videos of it first—it could save you a lot of money and hassle in the future.
When booking your next travel destination via Airbnb, be sure to always pay using the site's online system, or you could be scammed out of your money.
If you receive a text message from your cell phone provider containing a link to a "little gift," don't click on it—it's a scam!
Venmo users are noticing suspicious emails hitting their inboxes with claims of a large sum of money waiting to be transferred by a PayPal user.
The Tinder safe dating scam tricks users into giving up their credit card info to verify their profiles and leads to auto-enrollment in monthly subscription-based porn sites.
A call from your bank isn't always legitimate—imposters pretend to represent your bank to steal your information and money.
In 2020, almost $20 billion was lost to phone scammers in the U.S. alone. With 165 million robocalls being made every day, it's hard not to be targeted.
A promise of a large sum of money in return for a fee should raise some red flags—more often than not, it's a scam.
Arm yourself with information on how this scam works and the red flags to watch out for to protect your bank account from these thieves.
The U.S. saw a massive 45% increase from 2019 to 2020 in reports of fraud, scams, and identity theft and a 1,400% increase in 20 years from 2001.
When looking for the best car insurance rates, be sure to take advantage of these 14 discounts that can save you hundreds of dollars on your premium.
Buying a car is one of the biggest purchases a person may make in their lives, and being aware of these often-forgotten expenses may help you make a more informed decision.
Red Pocket, like many services, has its share of negative reviews from unhappy customers—we take a closer look at some of these claims.
If you get a call from a DEA agent requesting payment for a fine, hang up—this is a scam. Knowing the red flags and how these scams work can help keep your money safe.
This case shows just why you need to be aware of SIM swapping and how to protect your cell phone number from criminals like this.
After a 3-year long scam, Angela Mirabella and six others have been indicted on several charges, including grand theft.
Taking a chance on a fake COVID-19 vaccination card seems like an easy way to get around requirements, but think again before you land yourself in prison.
Sometimes it just safer not to pick up calls from unknown phone numbers.
Nike is taking a stand against counterfeiters and stopping fake products before they hit U.S. soil.