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These Are 6 Of The Newest Travel Scams And How You Can Avoid Them

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There's nothing worse than getting scammed while traveling.

Nothing will dampen your vacation quite like having your phone or wallet stolen or losing money because you fell prey to a scam.

And with increasingly sophisticated technology, travel scams are becoming even more commonplace.

You can get scammed while traveling anywhere in the world, although Paris was named the worst city for scams.

People booking a trip on laptops

Personally, I've noticed a prevalence of scams in many European cities (Paris, Barcelona, Rome, and Athens come to mind) as well as countries like Egypt and Morocco.

But travel scams don't always happen abroad; they can happen while traveling in the U.S. or even before you leave for a trip!

Here are some new travel scams and situations to watch out for:

1. Shady Booking Websites

Young Male Traveler Booking A Flight From His Computer As He Smiles, International Travel

Be very careful when booking travel online.

When booking flights or hotels, it's best to book directly with the airline or the hotel or to use a big-name booking platform such as Booking.com, Expedia, or Hotels.com.

You should be wary of smaller third-party booking websites that you don't recognize. Some of these exist solely to steal your credit card information.

And if they're offering prices that are significantly lower than what you're seeing elsewhere, well, it's probably too good to be true.

2. Discount Vacation Packages

aerial view of overwater villas in the Maldives

Fake discount vacation packages are another new travel scam running rampant online, particularly on social media.

On platforms like Instagram and Facebook, you might have seen targeted ads for steeply discounted vacation packages to exotic destinations like Bali or the Maldives.

Once again, if it seems too good to be true, it's probably a scam — unfortunately, there's just no way you can get a week-long stay at a luxury overwater bungalow in the Maldives for $500!

3. Public Charging Ports

USB Charging Port

It's becoming increasingly common to see USB charging ports in places like hotels, airports, and other public places. Seems convenient, right?

Unfortunately, these have become a target for scammers who use harmful malware to access your phone while you're charging it.

Avoid public USB charging ports and use a portable charge or plug your phone into an outlet to charge instead.

4. Public WiFi Networks

Phone showing Wifi signal

Here's another thing to be careful of when traveling: public WiFi networks.

Like using public USB ports, connecting to a public WiFi network while traveling can make your device vulnerable to hackers.

It's better to connect to a secure WiFi network whenever possible (and use a VPN!) or use data on your phone — many cellphone companies offer affordable international data packages these days.

5. Posting Your Travels Online

Woman taking a selfie at a luxury hotel

A new risk that has emerged in the age of social media is posting your travels online in real time.

You might not think anything of sharing your travel itinerary with your friends and followers online, posting live updates as you check into your amazing hotel, or enjoying a meal at a delicious restaurant.

But in extreme cases, this can open you up to becoming a target for theft or stalking. It's better to share your travels with a delay on social media instead.

6. ATM Not Working

Traveler using ATM

Another scam that is becoming more common is the “ATM not working” scam. You'll try to use an ATM, only to be immediately told by a “helpful” local nearby (who may even pose as a bank employee) that the ATM is currently not working, but that there's one nearby that is.

The second ATM will likely have a card skimmer installed, a device that will steal your bank card number and PIN.

It should always be a red flag if a stranger comes up to you and starts offering unsolicited “advice” when traveling, making this an easy scam to avoid.

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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com

Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post.


Francis Williams

Tuesday 12th of March 2024

Thanks for the HEADS UP!

Michael Z, NYC

Tuesday 12th of March 2024

Wow - it seems there's no end in sight what scammers can and are doing to steal from folks and families trying to enjoy their vacation and holidays.

Thank you for this info, Dale