travel scam

Unfortunately, travel scams are all too common, and if you’re an American in a foreign city, you’re even more likely to be targeted. To avoid an incident that could ruin your trip, keep your personal belongings safe and watch out for these telltale signs from our Newark Airport parking members:

Money up Front

If you’re searching for a vacation rental or a hotel and the seller asks for your money up front before you even see the place, don’t bother with it. Many scammers ask for money up front, then disappear and never deliver what they’ve promised. Instead, look for a deal that lets you see the place before you put money down on it.

Lack of Pictures

Whether you’re searching for an Airbnb, a vacation rental, a bed & breakfast, or some other sort of lodging, make sure the properties you’re interested in have a sufficient amount of pictures. Some scammers falsify rental listings (and hope to get money from you before you actually arrive), so if there are no pictures, the place may not even exist.

Incorrect Change

If you’re in a foreign country and use a large bill to pay for something inexpensive, count the change you receive twice. Sometimes, locals will actually give you less than they owe you and keep the rest for themselves.

Common Distractions

While it may not seem like much, if you’re walking down the street and are suddenly distracted something, (for example, kids waving newspapers, someone showing you something on a map, an artist performing a trick, or another sudden incident), you could have your wallet or purse stolen while you’re watching.

“Free” Services

If you’re in a popular area, you may run into locals who offer to read your palms, make you a piece of jewelry, shine your shoes, or offer another service and claim it’s free. If you humor them thinking you’re getting a good deal, you’re probably not. Many times, these gestures aren’t free and once the person is done performing their gesture, they’ll badger you until you give them money for their service.

Foreign Jewelers

In places like Africa, the Caribbean, and Israel, jewels are often cheaper than they are in the United States. If you’re headed to a country known for its jewels and you plan on buying some, make sure you buy them from a trusted jeweler. Many independent vendors will convince you that what you’re buying will sell for much more than it really does, or they may try to sell you one type of stone that’s really another.