Travel scams and how to avoid them

How to avoid travel scamsPic: Getty

Now that spring is finally here, many Brits will be looking forward to their annual getaway. But that dream holiday can quickly turn into a nightmare if you fall victim to some of the scam artists that target tourists. Here are some of the most widespread scams and how to avoid them...

Keep your credit card close
Credit cards present an easy opportunity for fraudsters targeting holidaymakers. If possible, pay with cash, thereby avoiding the chance of fraud altogether, but if you must use your card, make sure it stays within sight. Shops, hotels and restaurants have all been known to disappear off with your plastic, then leave you with a bigger bill than you expected, so keep an eye on it and don't let anyone disappear out of sight where they can copy your details.

Little extras
When you're enjoying an al fresco dinner and in relaxed, holiday mode, it's easy to simply pay the bill without checking it. And that's just what some unscrupulous restaurants count on. When the bill arrives, check the prices against those listed on the menu, and make sure no unwanted extras have found their way onto the order.

Choose a registered residence
Self-catering apartments are a great way to save money on your annual holiday, but with so many Brits booking online these days, the way is open for scammers. Book through a reputable agency or check that the apartment is registered with an authorised rental company to avoid getting stung and arriving to find there's no such residence.

Similarly, if you're booking your hotel over the phone, ask for a receipt, including any specifics, to be sent straight away. It has been known for hotels to claim you misheard the price or that they have no record of all those extras you paid for.

Top-up trauma
If you're one of those that just can't do without your mobile while you're on holiday, beware of phantom top-ups. It's a well-known scam for disreputable shops to sell you credit that never arrives, so stick to a reputable and well-known name.

Pickpocket peril
Most tourists are fully aware that they're a target for pickpockets, and sadly that means they come up with ever more creative ways of getting their hands on your cash. Beware distraction techniques from street sellers, such as tying a friendship bracelet on your wrist or posting as tourists and asking you to take their photograph. Pickpockets usually work in pairs or small groups, so keep your wits about you.

Have you been caught out by a tourist scam? Leave your comments below...