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September 25, 2012

Beware of fake police and tricksters - they are common in some destinations!

     Melbourne: A travel insurance company employee has issued a timely reminder for Australian travellers (as good for others) about falling for common and costly travel traps overseas. “All it takes is a momentary lapse of judgment to fall prey to scammers, and yet you might regret it for a very long time,” News.com.au quoted Michael McAuliffe from SureSave as saying. Hot dogs, bracelets and newspapers are among the items used by thieves to distract unsuspecting travellers and steal their valuables, News.com.au reported. For those who don’t want to return home empty-handed, McAuliffe has provided a pick of the worst travel scams and how to avoid them.

Hot dog scam:– At locations around the world, commonly airports, scammers will eat hot dogs and “accidentally” squirt mustard on nearby travellers or alternatively drop bird poo on them. While they clumsily “help” clean up the mess, valuables are stolen. Make sure to place your bags between your legs and pay attention.

Fake police:- Phony police officers are common in destinations such as Thailand and often falsely accuse travellers of committing a crime. For example, fake police may charge an on-the-spot fine of 5000 baht (155 dollars) for putting out a cigarette in public. Make sure to check the officer’s ID and contact the real police if in doubt.

Newspaper attack:- Gypsy children surround visitors to Rome and wave newspapers in their face to confuse and block the travellers while they pickpocket or grab their bags. If approached by them move away quickly or shout.

Security scare:– This scam plays out at airports around the world. As the target passenger nears the metal detector a person cuts ahead of them, where the alarm will ring as he’d “forgotten” to remove his keys and change. Meanwhile, a fellow thief who’d gone through security earlier steals the passenger’s belongings from the conveyor belt and does a runner.

Bogus monks:- Southeast Asia has its share of travel scams, but fake monks appear to pop up in almost all countries in the region. Dressed just like the real deal, these fake monks hit up tourist hot spots looking to collect “alms”, but they’re really after “financial donations”.

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