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Money Common travel scams and how to avoid them

20:25  13 february  2018
20:25  13 february  2018 Source:   moneysense.ca

RCMP officer wants to avoid criminal record, being put on sex offender list

  RCMP officer wants to avoid criminal record, being put on sex offender list Const. Stephen Knaack was in Yukon Territorial Court Tuesday for sentencing on a sexual assault charge laid after an incident at the Whitehorse detachment more than a year ago. The main issue for Judge Richard Schneider to decide is whether Knaack should have a criminal record after the case is concluded. His lawyer Brendan Miller argued in territorial court Tuesday morning that Knaack should be given a discharge. That would mean Knaack would not be convicted of a crime and not be put on the sexual offender registry. Miller said that would be overly harsh for a momentary impulse meant as a joke, albeit a stupid joke.

travel scams: (Pexels)© Used with permission of / © Rogers Media Inc. 2018. (Pexels)

Travel scams are the worst. There’s no worse way to ruin your mood and vacation than getting ripped off. It doesn’t matter where in the world you are, someone will try to take advantage of you. The good thing is, most travel scams are similar throughout the world, so you can protect yourself by doing a little bit of research before you depart.

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  What did the neighbours pay? Whitby homebuyers just found out the answer: a lot less Some Whitby home buyers are upset after neighbouring lots in a new development went on sale at much lower price. Planned homes in a new Whitby subdivision are on sale for up to $90,000 less than similar homes in the same development were a year ago.

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Here are some common travel scams and how to avoid them.

Broken taxi meters

Despite the fact that everyone knows about them, broken taxi meters for some are still one of the most common travel scams. What happens is that cab drivers will tell you that the meter is broken and try to negotiate a (higher) fixed price. Negotiating isn’t a problem if you already know how much the journey should cost you (ask your hotel in advance), but just get in a different cab if you’re not sure. Remember, don’t use unlicensed taxis ever. Also, if you’re at the airport, only get in a cab at official taxi stands.

Get your hotel rooms and flights right from Google search

  Get your hotel rooms and flights right from Google search Google Flights is already a great place to search when you're headed out on vacation or business trips. It uses AI to predict possible flight delays, too, and helps you find rate information on hotels and airline tickets based on peak travel times. Now some new updates will help you find and book hotels and flights right in a Google search.The company says that it also added improved price filtering, easier to find information on amenities, along with the new booking feature. There are some new interface features that help you check travel options on your mobile phone, too.

The accommodation is “closed”

Here’s another travel scam that’s related to taxi drivers. While on your ride to your hotel or hostel, some drivers will tell you that it’s been closed for months, but don’t worry they know a good place nearby. Why would cab drivers do this? They get a commission from the other hotel. Obviously, your accommodations aren’t closed since you already reserved your room, however sometimes people who made a last minute reservation may think they made a mistake. You could always call your hotel in advance to confirm your reservation or use their shuttle service (if available). Alternatively, just keep telling your cab driver to take you there. They may still insist it is closed, but eventually, they’ll stop putting up a fight (maybe).

Free charms/bracelets/rosemary

In many parts of Europe a friendly local will come up to you and chat or offer you some kind of friendly thing that goes on you. In some cases they may come right up and start putting a “friendship” bracelet on you, while in others may just hand you some “good luck” rosemary. A variation of this scam is someone who looks like a monk offering you a lucky charm with your fortune. Once they have the goods on you, they’ll demand a tip. If you resist, they’ll make a scene in hopes that you’ll just pay up to avoid the attention. If anyone tries to put anything on you, give it back right away or resist. If you make a scene, they’ll likely move on to the next person. Even if they do get something on you, just stand firm and refuse to pay.

Memo to ethics czar: Don’t gag MPs or media

  Memo to ethics czar: Don’t gag MPs or media Two of the greatest bulwarks of a democracy are freedom of expression and a free press. So it was alarming to hear that in his effort to be “tougher” than his predecessor, Canada’s new Ethics Commissioner, Mario Dion, is seeking to gag MPs and impose publication bans. Dion made the disturbing remarks during an appearance last week before a Commons committee while discussing how he believed that ethics investigations should be conducted in private. There’s nothing wrong with that. But then he raised concerns that MPs can tell the media when they’ve filed a complaint and the press can report on it.

Shopping deals

Many countries specialize in certain products such as papyrus in Egypt or silk in Thailand. There’s nothing wrong with buying these things, just make sure you’re not overpaying for them or buying low quality stuff. Research in advance of how much things cost and where the most reputable places to buy them from are. Also, don’t confuse haggling with being ripped off. In many countries, it’s perfectly normal to haggle on the price. Again, research what’s the accepted norm so you don’t get ripped off.

The attraction is closed

Similar to the your accommodations is closed travel scam, this scam involves taxi drivers or tuk tuk drivers telling you that the local attraction you’re interested is currently closed for lunch or for the day. Instead they offer to take you to some other local attraction while stopping at some stores along the way where they’ll make a commission off of anything you buy. Always double check the opening hours of attractions, and make sure you’re at the right entrance. You may not realize that you’re trying to get in from the closed back entrance.

Snow emergency declared in Windsor

  Snow emergency declared in Windsor Snow emergency declared in WindsorUp to 30 centimetres of snow has already fallen on sections of the city with more expected today.

Messing with your money

Whenever you head to a new country, you’ll want to become familiar with the local currency. Different bills and coins may sometimes look similar which presents an opportunity for merchants who are trying to pull a fast one on you. Always count your change before departing any store so you can make a complaint if something doesn’t add up. It’s also a good idea to verbally confirm what bill you’re giving people e.g. “Here’s a 50” so they don’t turn around and say you only gave them a 20.

The card game

The card game is one of the most common travel scams, yet people still fall for it. Essentially there are three cards (or a ball under a cup / coin under a shell) and you have to guess where the right card is to win money. The people playing keep winning so you give it a try where of course you win too. When you start to increase your bet, that’s when they use sleight of hand to win. You’ll always lose to this travel scam and the people around who seem to win every time are in on the scam. Don’t waste your money here.

Dynamic currency conversion

Although this not technically a tourist scam, dynamic currency conversion is something to watch out for since you can get ripped off. Dynamic currency conversion is when you get to select the local currency or your home currency when paying by credit. Always choose the local currency since the exchange rate is set by Visa or Mastercard. On the other, the rate for your home currency is set by the merchant so they could up the exchange quite a bit. For more tips on currency exchange, read my guide now.

Snow causes weekend driving havoc on Coquihalla and Okanagan Connector

  Snow causes weekend driving havoc on Coquihalla and Okanagan Connector Snow is making travel very difficult on Hwy. 97C — otherwise known as the Okanagan Connector — after heavy snowfall blanketed the route from Merritt to Peachland on Saturday night. The highway was closed to eastbound traffic four kilometres west of the Pennask summit for about two hours Sunday afternoon after a multi-vehicle collision around […]Snow is making travel very difficult on Hwy. 97C — otherwise known as the Okanagan Connector — after heavy snowfall blanketed the route from Merritt to Peachland on Saturday night.

Barry Choi is a personal finance and budget travel expert at Moneywehave.com.

This article originally appeared on Moneywehave.com and has been republished with permission.

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