This is the first in a five part series on travel scams. As the weather heats up and the kids get out of school, thoughts turn to travel. And whether you’re going to the Smokey Mountains, New York City or Paris you will run the risk of being scammed. Never let your guard down even when the city is renowned for its hospitality.
Here is the first of the five most popular travel scams- and how to avoid them.
“I ran out of gas and now I’m stranded”
“Excuse me Sir/Ma’am, my little boy and I were touring [wherever you are], and on the way out of town our car ran out of gas, and we need to get back to [a very wholesome sounding small town] for my mother’s funeral. All I need is $50 for gas, and if you give me your address, I promise I’ll send it back to you. Oh, and I’m a good Christian.”
Obviously, if you give this very respectable looking person money, you will never see it, or them, again. And the cash probably won’t be spent at the local gas station.
This is a popular scam in major American cities, but it’s easy to avoid. Just don’t give cash to strangers.
But, because many scammers are very talented actors, you might feel guilty about stranding them. Or maybe you fear the karmic retribution. In that case, you can offer to walk to the nearest gas station and pay for the gas directly. They will probably come up with some reason that won’t work for them and then you can walk away guilt free and with all your money intact.