Scam alert

You are here

6 Scams You’ll Encounter Overseas

20th August 2018

Worried about scammers coming to snatch your money? You should be! From pickpockets to sophisticated criminals, every country has scammers. And sadly, not even experienced travellers are immune to being swindled. Keep an eye out for these latest scams the next time you go abroad.


The Airport Taxi Scam

Airport arrival lounges are prime hunting ground for scammers. No one is at their most street-smart after a long flight, and tired travellers make easy targets for unregistered taxi drivers. Rather than using a metre like a legitimate taxi service, fake drivers rip you off by charging an inflated flat rate fee.

Get fooled by this scam and you could end up paying more than double the standard fare. Or worse, wind up down a deserted backstreet with an aggressive taxi driver demanding all your money. Avoid dodgy drivers by researching the city’s transport services or asking airport officials for advice.

The Wrong Change Scam

Familiarising yourself with foreign currency isn’t always easy, especially if all the notes and coins look alike. If you’re still getting used to your foreign money, beware of dishonest till operators – short-changing bamboozled foreigners is one of the oldest tricks in the book. To avoid being cheated out of your change, count your money carefully every time you buy something.

There’s no need to be super obvious about it (don’t be that heinous tourist who assumes all foreigners are out to steal their money). Simply check you’ve got the right amount before leaving the store.


While you’re counting your change, keep an eye out for counterfeit notes and coins. Check out our tips on how to spot fake foreign currency.

The Car Hire Scam

Damaging a rental vehicle is stressful at the best of times, let alone when you’re dealing with a sketchy hire car company. Some rental providers try and cheat travellers by demanding thousands of dollars in repair fees. They may even accuse renters of causing damage that was already there while withholding passports and credit cards as collateral.

Before renting a car, check online reviews to ensure the company is legit. Take photos of the car before driving it anywhere, and always get insurance. Accidents can happen to anyone, and being insured means you won’t have to worry about going broke because of a minor bingle.

The Credit Card Skimming Scam

Like the tech-savvy version of a pickpocket, credit card skimmer scammers can empty your bank account in a matter of minutes.
Take these steps to help protect your credit card details against money transfer scams. 

  • Don’t let a shop assistant wander off with your credit card
  • Cover your pin at ATMs
  • Don’t use an ATMs that look like they’ve been tampered with
  • Don’t go sharing your PIN with just anyone.

The Overbooked Hotel Scam

If a taxi driver tries to tell you your accommodation is overbooked, closed, or a bad place to stay, take their advice with a grain of salt. Some drivers get paid a commission by hotels to drop off tourists at the front desk. You have to hand it to them, it’s a pretty nifty trick for fooling travellers. To avoid falling for this scam, always confirm your booking by calling the hotel.

The Fake Police Officer Scam

This scam can be pretty scary, especially if you’ve never had a run-in with the law before. It usually involves a police officer approaching a tourist and demanding to see their passport, or accusing them of a crime they haven’t committed. They may try and run off with your wallet, or make you pay a fine or a bribe in exchange for returning your passport.

If you’re ever approached by a police officer in a foreign country, ask to see their badge or formal ID. And never hand over your passport without good reason.


If you’re anxious about having your holiday ruined by scammers, taking out travel insurance is the best way to protect yourself. Take a look at the Cover-More travel insurance options available at Travel Money Oz today.


This blog is provided for information only and does not take into consideration your objectives, financial situation or needs.  You should consider whether the information and suggestions contained in any blog entry are appropriate for you, having regard to your own objectives, financial situation and needs.  While we take reasonable care in providing the blog, we give no warranties or representations that it is complete or accurate, or is appropriate for you.  We are not liable for any loss caused, whether due to negligence or otherwise, arising from use of, or reliance on, the information and/or suggestions contained in this blog.