Contributed by Morgan N.

I love to travel. Whenever I have vacation time I travel and, even when I don’t have official vacation days, I take weekend trips to new places. Then one year, I was on vacation when a bird pooped on me.  A nice stranger came over and dried me off with a towel.  He also helped himself to my wallet, credit cards and passport! I ended up spending much of my vacation at the police station, the embassy and most of my time crying.  The police told me it was a common scam and while talking to them, I found out about some other scams as well.

  • Fake police.  You are busy driving down the street and the police stop you, claiming you have committed some type of crime.  They tell you that paying them right then and there will make the whole thing go away. Instead, tell them you would like to go to the police station.  They will most likely want to forget the whole thing and let you go with a warning.  However, be sure to pull over where there are other people around or pull into a gas station.
  • Taxis.  There are so many scams involving taxis.  They can drive you all around town and take the long route to boost their fare. For this scam, be sure to settle on a fee beforehand.  They might also tell you that your hotel or restaurant is closed and they have a better place for you to go to.  Insist on going to your choice to check if it is still open.  They may be taking you to their friends place so they can earn a commission.
  • Hotel scam.  This time the taxi driver takes you to a hotel with a name that is similar to your chosen hotel.  They ask you to prepay and offer you lots of tours for a fee.  You are tired and sign right up, only to realize later that it’s not even the hotel you chose.  Be sure to check the address of the hotel and make sure it is the correct one. Leave if it is not.
  • Scooters/vespas. Oh the fun of driving a scooter around town! But then it breaks down. You have to return it to the rental place and they say it is your fault and you will have to pay for repairs.  The bill is likely to be inflated and you will be paying for a scooter that was rigged to break down.  Another popular scam is renting you a lock and key for the scooter.  After you park the scooter, one of the employees unlocks the scooter steals it. Now, you have to pay for a replacement scooter.  Take you own lock and key to avoid this scam.

Have you ever been taken in by a scam while on vacation?  Share with your soul-mates to help prevent it from happening again.