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5 Overlooked Travel Threats: Are You Prepared for the Unexpected?

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5 Overlooked Travel Threats: Are You Prepared for the Unexpected?

Frequent travellers are probably familiar with common threats such as pickpocketing and overcharged taxi rides. We know what to expect when arriving at a destination, so having our guard up for well-known scams is not unusual. But this makes us forget about the overlooked travel threats that happen quite often.

What to look out for on your next adventure

The only way to be prepared for various scenarios on your next trip is to familiarise yourself with the potential dangers you could be facing. While some of the threats could be local, the following can happen everywhere:

1. Hidden cameras

Social media platforms like TikTok and Instagram are full of videos of people discovering cameras and two-way mirrors in their Airbnb or rented rooms. While some clips might be created purely for the views, finding cameras in rented apartments and rooms is not unheard of. Unfortunately, cameras can be incredibly tiny nowadays. But there are ways to spot them in a room.Since these devices can be hidden in random things, look around your accommodation and see if any items are facing towards the bathroom or the closet. Cameras can be hidden in alarm clocks, smoke detectors, or even in hygiene products in the shower. Lenses are reflective, so you can turn off the lights and go around the room with your phone flashlight.

2. Free Wi-Fi networks

Free Wi-Fi networks are available everywhere you go nowadays, and they are useful for checking your mail, messaging, and reading the news on the go. But beware of unsecured networks that are not password protected, especially in busy areas of a city. When there are multiple Wi-Fi networks in a single location, cybercriminals can comfortably create a fake one and trick users into connecting.Once you connect to a fake Wi-Fi network, you’ll give access to your device to the person behind it. That includes your personal and financial information. So, before you embark on your next trip, download a VPN for travel to protect your data and safely use public Wi-Fi. A VPN can encrypt your traffic, which makes it unusable to third parties.

3. ATM assistance

ATM transactions in a foreign country can be pricey. Therefore, it is recommended that you have the cash ready before you arrive at your destination. But mistakes happen, and you might not have any other choice than to use an ATM. If a person approaches you in front of the ATM, saying they can help you avoid the additional fees, don’t believe them.Chances are that the ATM has a card skimmer, and the person is just trying to stay close to you as you make the transaction to see your PIN code. The only solution to this problem is to avoid using an ATM when other people are around and covering the number pad because of hidden cameras. Remember that you can always walk away if someone offers you help. It’s better to be safe than sorry.

4. Unwanted accommodation suggestions

It’s unlikely that you won’t take a taxi at least once during your trip. Most of us will climb inside a taxicab as soon as we arrive, and that’s when this scam may occur, especially if you have booked a room at a hotel. Since the driver already knows where you’re going, they will say your hotel or motel is closed or overbooked.

The driver will then suggest another accommodation for you that is way more expensive than your initial reservation. Of course, the taxi driver receives the money to do this scam. Some travellers fall for this because they believe taxi drivers are familiar with the area. So, what can you do to avoid this? Ask the driver to take you to your hotel or motel anyway. Guests always receive an email in advance if their accommodation is closed or full.

5. Scammers posing as police officers

This scam is common in large touristy areas and involves several people playing different roles. A tourist will be approached by someone trying to sell them illegal things, most frequently narcotics. They will pretend not to understand anything their target is saying until another person arrives, claiming they are an undercover police officer. The newcomer will probably show a fake badge and ask for the target’s wallet and passport.

If you encounter anything similar, remember that police are required to show you their identification. Ask to see their badge again, especially if they show it quickly the first time, and say you’ll contact authorities to confirm their identity. Don’t give them anything, especially your passport, because chances are you are being scammed.

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