10 Holiday Scams To Avoid

Holiday Scams

The main summer holiday season may be coming to an end soon but these 10 scams are timeless so it’s well worth knowing what to avoid before you depart on your next vacation.

When you are travelling you are, generally, looking to get away from things, to relax.


That’s what the people behind these scams rely upon – the fact that you may not be as guarded as normal, or able to do your research. You may not even know how things work in a different country.

1. The quick bargain

2. The lost wallet

3. Fake police officers

4. Credit card fraud

5. Car trouble

6. Spiked drinks

7. Distract and snatch

8. Fake taxi cabs

9. The midnight phone call

10. Over billing

The Quick Bargain

In this scam you arrive at your destination after a long flight, feeling exhausted. Fortunately, someone at the airport offers accommodation for the night. Unfortunately, you are too tired to realise that it is overpriced and of poor quality.

The Lost Wallet

You pick up a wallet that you found on the floor, only to have a scammer insist it is theirs and demanding it back, along with the money they say was in it but has now gone. They hope to cause a scene so that you repay the ‘missing’ money from your own pocket.

Fake Police Officers

In another country would you be able to tell the difference between a real police officer and a fake one? If not, then you may get robbed when they pull you over in your car and demand to search it.

Credit Card Fraud

You receive a call from the lobby of your hotel in the middle of the night to say they had problems processing your credit card. They ask you to verify all the details. The scam though is that you are too tired to think that the call may have come from outside of the hotel. Remember, no hotel will wake you in the middle of the night unless it is an emergency.

Car Trouble

Not likely, but it may happen that your rental car breaks down. Most people are honest and decent but watch out for any passers-by who seem overly friendly or willing to help – a common scam is for one to help with your problem while the other steals from the vehicle. There have also been cases of cars being stolen themselves.

Spiked Drinks

Spiked drinks is an issue all around the world and something you should always keep an eye out for. In some countries it is just as likely that the barman will spike drinks as any of the guests, with sexual assault and robbery being their motives.

Distract and Snatch

This is a common scam – one scammer will distract you, be it by talking, dropping something or whatever else they can think of. Whilst your attention is elsewhere, their accomplice will pick your pockets or try and steal your bag. The best defence is to be wary in crowded places and to carry money in money belts, etc.

Fake Taxi Cabs

It is very common for taxi drivers to see tourists as money machines – taking them to their destinations via long routes or simply overcharging them. It’s also the case, sadly, that taxi drivers will see a foreigner as a potential kidnap victim or may assault or rob them.

Midnight Phone Call

Some devious scammers will get hold of your contact details back home and may phone relatives, specifically making sure it is during the middle of the night when they are likely to be disorientated. They will say you are in trouble and need money sent over immediately. Of course the scam is that you are fine and the crook gets the money sent to their account. This is best avoided by carrying a mobile so that if anyone is worried about you then they can contact you directly.

Over Billing

Perhaps the most common scam you will run into when abroad is over billing, or over priced food and drink. Sometimes, shady owners will use tricks to increase your spend, such as employing a pretty face who will chat all night if you buy her drinks. Some may get angry and violent if you don’t pay their prices, however much you know they have inflated them by. Best defence is to only visit genuine eating places that display a menu with the prices clearly marked.

About Lee Munson

Lee's non-technical background allows him to write about internet security in a clear way that is understandable to both IT professionals and people just like you who need simple answers to your security questions.


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  1. […] though, I have listed 5 common travel scams so that you are, at least, […]

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