Friday, March 8, 2024

Are you looking to get away from the long, cold, Canadian winter? Or maybe you are the adventurous type who wants to experience the different cultures from around the world. Without a doubt, this is a popular time of year to pack a suitcase and jet off to somewhere warm. Either way, you need to be aware and cautious while traveling the globe or even just traveling to a nearby city.  Scams targeting travelers and tourists are not uncommon. Being aware of common scams can help you avoid falling victim to them. Here are some travel and tourist scams to watch out for:

Fake Tickets & Tours

  • Scenario – Someone may approach you claiming to be a tour guide or ticket seller, offering you a great deal on tickets or tours.
  • Prevention – Purchase tickets and tours from reputable sources, such as official websites or authorized agents. Be cautious of deals that seem too good to be true.

Taxi Scams

  • Scenario – Unscrupulous taxi drivers may take longer routes to increase the fare, claim that their meter is broken, or insist on a fixed price that is much higher than the standard rate.
  • Prevention – Use reputable taxi services, agree on the fare before starting the journey, and ensure the meter is used (if applicable).

Pickpocketing & Distraction Techniques

  • Scenario – Thieves often work in crowded tourist areas, using various tactics to distract you while an accomplice steals your belongings.
  • Prevention – Stay vigilant in crowded places, secure your belongings, and be cautious of people creating distractions.

Fake Police Officers

  • ScenarioScammers may pose as police officers, asking to see your identification or accusing you of a fake crime to extort money.
  • Prevention – Ask for official documentation, and if in doubt offer to go to the nearest police station. Don’t hand over money on the spot.

ATM Skimming

  • Scenario – Criminals install skimming devices on ATMs to capture your card information and PIN.
  • Prevention – If possible, avoid using your card at all. If you must use an ATM, use ATMs in well-lit and secure areas, cover your PIN while entering it, and regularly monitor your bank statements for any unauthorized transactions. 

Overpriced Goods & Services

  • Scenario – Vendors may inflate prices for goods and services when they realize you’re a tourist.
  • Prevention – Do your research and have a good knowledge of typical prices for goods and services in the area and be prepared to haggle. Avoid establishments that seem overly pushy or dishonest.

Fake Wi-Fi Networks

  • Scenario – Cybercriminals may set up fake Wi-Fi networks in tourist areas to steal personal information from those who connect.
  • Prevention – If possible, avoid using ANY public Wi-Fi and if you must only use known, secure and reputable Wi-Fi networks, consider using a virtual private network (VPN), and avoid accessing sensitive information on public networks such as accessing online banking or shopping.

Closed Accommodation Scam

  • Scenario – Taxi drivers or locals may claim that your booked accommodation is closed or overbooked, and they may offer to take you to another, often more expensive option.
  • Prevention – Confirm the status of your accommodation directly with the hotel/hostel before accepting alternative accommodation.

These are just a small sample of the possible scams that any tourist can fall victim to. The best way to stay clear of these scams is to educate yourself – do some research on the area of the world you are traveling to and be diligent to safeguard yourself, your family, and your assets.

YNCU members, if you know, or think you have been a victim of internet scams, phishing or cyber-attacks or your banking information has been compromised, please contact our Service Excellence Centre at 1-800-413-YNCU (9628).

You can also contact the Canadian Anti-Fraud Call Center at 1-888-495-8501.