Watch out for these common travel scams

Assuming it won’t happen to you is the best advantage you can give to unsavoury characters who prey on tourists.

Simply relying on mum’s advice and not accepting lifts from strangers will not protect you from seasoned scammers. You need to be aware whenever you travel — that innocent-looking person asking for your assistance could be hoping your good nature will be your downfall.

Keeping up to date on travel scams will help ensure your holiday isn’t ruined, so here are some of the latest tricks you’ll need to know about before you next depart overseas.

Tyre punctures

If you’re renting a vehicle, be careful of “highway pirates” when out in the country. They will discretely puncture your tyre and follow you until you stop. Then they offer assistance but rob you instead. Remember not to display valuables in your vehicle, always lock your vehicle and don’t store your luggage in your vehicle.

False petitions

Be wary of young children who approach you asking for your signature or a donation to their cause. You’ll be pick-pocketed while distracted, or even forced to give up your valuables. Report the offenders to police as it’s a criminal offence to impersonate a charity.

Fake entry fees

If you’re travelling from Spain into Gibraltar, you may get a scammer with fake ID asking for a cash entry fee into Gibraltar. There is no entry fee into Gibraltar, so ignore them and threaten to report them to police. Keep your doors locked and hide all valuables from sight.

Fake police officers

This is a common occurrence in the Czech Republic. An individual approaches you to offer you an illicit substance. As you start protesting a fake undercover police officer arrives and demands to see your wallet and passport while accusing you of a crime. Ignore their requests and ask to accompany them to the nearest police station. Do not hand over any of you personal documents. Start walking towards the nearest police station, making it clear to the perpetrators that is what you are doing.

Distraction scams

Someone approaches you and tries to sell you something when you’re seated in a cafe or restaurant. While you’re distracted and asking them to leave you alone, your possessions are stolen from right under your nose. Keep your valuables close to you, hidden from sight, so it is too difficult to get to them without being obvious.

It’s important to feel protected on your travels. RACQ Travel offer a range of travel insurance options to keep you protected, with a 20% for members.