There has to be a lot of frustration out there. Today I decided to write about travel scams. Ruth & I have been victimized 4 memorable times. Three of the incidents occurred in Italy. The frustration now has to do with the internet. It’s not simple or easy to use any more. The last time I wrote about travel scams, I began on page one and was done by page 3.
Yesterday I was intrigued with a page one entry by the Travel Channel. “11 Common Travel Scams and How to Avoid Them” by Steve Larese interested me, and I began looking among them for the 4 I had personally gotten involved in; but I knew better than to respond when a stranger asked me for the time, tried to tie something on Ruth or my wrist to gain control, asked if we wanted to have a drink with him, or offered to take our photo. These are common scams and none of the 11 applied to us, but they did remind me of the week we spent in Madrid when we were far more naive. We experienced a scam being perpetrated on us each and every day and learned by observing. One night we were mugged in the underground because I made the mistake of photographing very public Christmas decorations. By the end of the week we recognized both scammers and their methods.
I moved on to page 3 where I read Forbes ” 4 Travel Scams To Watch Out For Now” written in 2020. The 4 included “Scammers Posing as Airline Agents” that involved a summer trip to Europe. Since travel to Europe is difficult or impossible now with the virus I moved on quickly. The choices now seemed to duplicate information already covered, and the scams covered both repeated and ranged from 4 to 24.
By page 6, I was tired of the subject and recalled days gone by when I would not need to ever read beyond page 5 and mostly stopped cruising any subject after page 1. But on page 6 I was stopped by the Huffpost’s 40 travel scams that included a thown baby, an expensive taxi driver, and the overly helpful local. I recalled climbing into and out of expensive taxis in Istanbul and Mexico City and the many helpful locals I have avoided, but I have never experienced a thrown baby. I have heard about this, however, and remembered a tour guide in Argentina warning us not to rent a car in Bolivia because parents might push one of their children in front of it to put us into insurance hell. I began wondering how many more pages were ahead of me on this subject.
By page 9 the entries were at least becoming more specific. I read Trip Savvy’s “5 Common Travel Scams in Los Angeles”. It wasn’t until page 18 that I paused on the first non-travel entry. The article was about international financial scams. On page 27 I paused at USA Today’s most common travel scams by country in Europe. Travel scams finally came to a halt on page 28.
The most difficult travel scam to affect us deeply occurred in Brussels, Belgium. I was left to watch all of our possessions in a train station we had been warned about. Alone with luggage was our first mistake. Then I fell for the old scammers trick by responding to a question about where something was. After I gave directions, I looked down to realize that a new piece of travel luggage was missing. The bold scammers later contacted our family in the US about the supposedly found missing bag, but we never tried to get the bag or its contents back.