Travelling to a different country is thrilling, exciting, and, inevitably, full of pitfalls. British holidaymakers, it seems, make rich pickings for rip offs, particularly when it comes to being tricked into parting with their holiday money or valuables.
The National Fraud Intelligence Bureau recently identified 1,000 different holiday scams aimed at British holidaymakers: according to their figures, criminals separated tourists from £1.5 million in the last year alone.
Some scams have been doing the rounds for decades. They range from on-the-spot 'fines' from fake police officers to the infamous taxi driver money-switches.
Adam Peterson, a 20-year-old student from Somerset, fell foul of the latter in Athens, Greece.
He arrived on a late night flight with his girlfriend and took a taxi to his hotel. He was charged 45 euros and sleepily handed over a 50 euro note. The driver turned around to get change out of his car, and when he turned back he had a 10 euro note in his hand. He told Adam that he had handed over the wrong sum, so he took the 10 euro note and handed over another 50 euros.
Other scams are newer, and have developed in response to internet trends.
When Helen Range, a 38 year-old scientist from the West Midlands, booked her holiday to the South of France last year, she used a reputable website advertising private holiday lettings. She found an apartment and called to confirm the booking with the owner, who sent a contract and confirmed the arrangements.
A week later Helen received an email from the owner who said that she needed to pay a 50 per cent deposit up-front, and sent details of the electronic transfer required. Fortunately she had a hectic few days, so didn't get around to sending the money before she got another email from the owner. Apparently the owner's email account had been hacked and everyone who had booked for the summer had received a deposit demand. Most had paid the hacker and lost every penny.
Range says: "It must have been devastating for all those people who paid. It made me very wary about booking with a private owner again."
The scammers are lying in wait to take advantage at every stage of your holiday, so it's worth being aware of the most common, and most horrible tricks, revealed in our top ten, below.
Have you ever been scammed on holiday? Tell us in the comments below.
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