Steer clear of the top holiday rip-off traps

Posted on September 9th, 2013 by James Luckhurst

CaptureSummer is of course the best time for a holiday. Many of us choose a foreign country as our destination for relaxing and unwinding from work. However, it does happen that frauds and crooks steal money and valuables from tourists – even at the seemingly most secure holiday paradise. For a safer holiday and to avoid some common rip-off traps, follow these useful tips from GEM Motoring Assist:

The taxi trap: surprisingly expensive

Taxis are frequently used for transport in many holiday regions due to the low prices. However you need to be careful that the ride does not turn into an expensive trip: unnecessary detours, excessive prices and shady additional charges are the most common ways to raise the price for a taxi ride. To avoid such rip-offs settle the destination and a fixed price before departure. Furthermore you should ask the driver to show his licence and to use a meter. If possible, find out the usual taxi prices of the region you are travelling.

Rental cars: cheap offers may result in expensive bills

A rental car is an appropriate alternative for a taxi. But the devil is in the detail. So-called “full- empty offers” often prove to be a pure rip-off. With this sort of scheme, you rent a fully fuelled car and return it with an empty tank. It happens quite frequently that tourists do not spend the full amount of fuel and return their car with an half-empty tank. But this does not mean that they get back the money which they paid in advance. Quite on the contrary, the borrower often receives an expensive invoice afterwards. So you should check the car before renting it. Call for a receipt of any damages (dents, scratches, broken locks etc.) and make sure your car works perfectly – police do not show consideration towards tourists.

Credit card trap: manipulated devices may spy out your data

People who do not want to get into trouble by paying cash in foreign currency can easily pay by debit card. But watch out: manipulated card readers may spy out your data. So fraudsters may go shopping on your cost. It is most important that you never leave your credit card unattended. Check transactions as soon as possible. Some credit card companies offer a service notifying any and sending you a text message. Ask for a receipt after every payment, check it and keep it, so you can prove a fraud if necessary.

Horse-drawn coach rip-off: expensive carriage ride along the pyramids

Crooks use means of transport looking traditional and historic to rip off tourists. This method is especially “famous” in the tourist regions of Egypt like Giza and Luxor. Tourists are offered low priced tours in a horse carriage along the city, the pyramids or other sights. Often the tour lasts longer than announced and the price rises by an incomprehensible amount. If tourists do not want to pay overrated bills (often about 40 Euros for only around 30 minutes), the driver threaten to call the police and thus creates a big fuss. We recommend to pay only the fixed price, not to discuss and just walk away.