Tourists are routinely warned about the scams that they need to guard against when they travel overseas. Rome has the fake baby scam, for instance. In this scam, a thief thrusts a doll dressed up to look like a baby in your hands. You won’t be able to defend yourself when you’re busy holding the baby. Meanwhile, the thief picks your pocket and runs away. Bali has monkeys that are trained pickpockets. Egypt has camel rides that you can’t get off unless you pay a lot. It isn’t just other countries that have tourism-related scams, though. The US has plenty of its own. If you’re traveling around the country, watch out for these tricks.
The pizza scam practiced around Orlando
Many guests staying at hotels outside Disney World have fallen prey to an identity theft scam involving restaurant deals. Guests at these hotels find flyers advertising a temptingly cheap local pizza delivery restaurant slipped under their doors. In reality, the restaurant doesn’t exist. When you call to order, criminals on the other end take down your credit card information and sell it to credit card gangs.
If you really need pizza in a new town, you should ask the hotel for a recommendation or look on Yelp. Flyers and advertisements can be fraudulent ones.
The musician scam practiced in New York
New York being a world center for music, many musicians try to find a following by giving away CDs. Around the seedier parts of Times Square, though, some con artists try to pull a music-related scam. These criminals are called CD bullies. In this scam, you find a nice-looking person with a stack of CDs in the trunk of his car, trying to hand you a CD for free, just for the exposure it gives his music to have a new person listen to it. You mustn’t ever take the CD, though. If you do, he’ll suddenly call out a group of thugs to come out to menace. They won’t take the CD back unless you pay $20.
The only way out of this mess is to quietly place the CD on the ground and walk away. They only try to bully you into thinking that you will get hurt if you don’t pay up. They don’t actually hurt you.
The luggage heist of Las Vegas
While the cab drivers in Sin City are notorious for their unprofessionalism, some are actual con artists. One scam involves a cab driver who pretends to be in a rush. The driver tells you that he needs to be somewhere in a hurry. As soon as you get out of the taxi at your destination, the driver runs to the trunk at the back, pretends to unload your luggage, runs back into the cab and peels off. You only realize when he’s gone that he never unloaded the trunk.
Luggage snatching is big in Las Vegas. You need to be always on your alert. Not only do you need to hang on to your luggage at all times, you need to make a note of the number of every cab that you get into.
The midnight credit card scam everywhere in the US
Identity thieves use the midnight hotel room call trick in many cities in the US. When you’re asleep in your hotel room, you get a call in the middle of the night from someone claiming to be from the front desk. The caller tells you that there’s a problem with your credit card and you need to read the number out to him so that he can verify something. While no one would simply read out a credit card number to an unknown caller on the phone, they might, in a new city when they are half-asleep and disoriented.
The answer is to simply refuse – never read out your credit card number to an unknown caller. You need to simply tell the caller that you will come down to the front desk in the morning to sort out the problem.