Avoid getting taken in by any of the many possible scams that could happen to you when you're visiting a foreign place. Melbourne, Australia is hardly an exception, and its high population and tourist numbers may make it more susceptible to scams than other destinations. And what dangers should you be aware of while in Melbourne? Continue reading for our best advice!
Scams Targeting Travelers
Scams have targeted people of all ages and walks of life when they travel to other countries, including Australia. Take precautions against the most common types of fraud that target tourists and travellers before you leave the country. Scammed Overseas is a page that can provide you with additional resources if you have been taken advantage of while travelling abroad.
Unlicensed, unmetered drivers are common in airport arrivals halls and major tourist areas. These drivers charge tourists a fixed fee for their services. In many cases, the fees are significantly higher than the metered fares. Be wary of taxi drivers who appear friendly but try to sell you expensive tours. They will take you to businesses that pay them a commision in exchange for your patronage. You risk being overcharged or being sold items of no value. Some taxi drivers refuse to use their metres in tourist areas or areas that are frequently congested. In the majority of countries, this is illegal.
Take note of the following suggestions to avoid taxi scams: Only use licenced taxis and fine out what transportation services are available at the airport before you travel, and follow any signage or advice from authorities to official taxi services. Before you get in a taxi at the beginning of your journey, always ask if the driver will use the metre or agree to the fare, and make a note of the vehicle number, taxi company name, and driver's name.
Unlicensed taxi drivers are likely to approach you in airport terminals and offer their services. They will go out of their way to convince you to use their products or services. However, the majority of licenced taxi providers will park their vehicles outside the terminal at the designated taxi stand.
Vehicle Hire Scams
Rental scams involving jet skis, motorcycles, and even cars have been reported in other countries. Transport companies in Australia have been harassing and threatening residents for allegedly returning damaged rental vehicles. Some operators have demanded thousands of dollars in addition to people's passports as collateral; they will keep your passport until you pay for the damage done.
To avoid scams, read online reviews of local travel companies before hiring a vehicle, inspect the vehicle and take photos of any previous damage, and make sure your insurance covers recreational vehicles, especially if you're unlicensed in Australia. Never use your passport as a deposit or collateral.
Wrong Charge Or Overcharging Scams
Overcharging customers is a common type of fraud committed by merchants, taxi drivers, or ticket agents. They may also attempt to give you incorrect change, such as handing you a $100 bill with a change of only ten dollars when you paid with a $100 bill. Before you travel, become acquainted with the local currency and get a sense of how much things cost.
When travelling, try to avoid using large bills to pay for small purchases. Instead, concentrate your efforts and take your time to ensure that you have enough money.
FAQs About Scams You Should Be Aware
In Australia, it's a matter for your state or territory police and the ACCC. Overseas, contact the local police at your destination.
If you are a victim of a financial or internet scam:
- contact your bank or financial institution
- contact the ACCC
- get legal advice
Do not travel overseas to try to get your money back. Victims of scams that travel to the country where they started have endangered their lives. Some have been killed. The Australian Federal Police recommends you report the scam to your state or territory police. Ask for the police report to be sent to INTERPOL.
Fraud is when someone uses dishonest behaviour to gain an advantage over another person or organisation. The advantage is often money, but it may also include goods, services and property. Your personal identity information, social media accounts, photographs and financial details (such as bank accounts) may also be targeted because these can be valuable to criminals who can use them to commit fraud on you or other people.
Threatening someone to get money from them or some other advantage can also be a crime. You may also find the information on theft useful. In some cases, fraud can happen as part of a larger pattern of criminal behaviours such as:
If you believe you may be affected by fraud, it is important to take steps right away to protect yourself from further loss.
Let Your Bank Or Financial Institution Know
If you think any of your banking accounts or credit cards have been affected, contact your financial institution/s as soon as you can and tell them what has happened. They can close or freeze the accounts. This may help to recover any funds lost or prevent further loss.
Get A Copy Of Your Credit Report
A credit reporting agency can check for transactions you did not authorise or give permission for. You can also check if anyone has made inquiries into your credit history that you did not permit them to do – this can help identify who might be using your accounts.
Secure Your Information And Accounts
It is important to take action to secure your personal information as soon as you can if you think it has been used without your permission.
This can include:
- reporting missing or stolen identity documents such as your driving licence and passport
- closing any accounts which have been set up in your names such as phone, gas, electricity, water, department stores and banks or other financial institutions
- It is securing or shutting down social media and online accounts that have been hacked or set up in your name.
Most organisations' websites have information available for people on what to do if their account is not secure or an account has been set up in their name.
Collect Evidence About The Fraud
If you have evidence relating to the fraud, it is a good idea to keep it safe because this can help with the investigation.
Evidence may include:
- any details you have about the person who you believe has committed the fraud
- details of any witnesses
- financial and business records and documents
- receipts and invoices for purchases
- Communications include phone records, emails, text messages, chat messages, letters.
Identity crime is a critical threat to the Australian community. This crime type generates significant profits for offenders and causes considerable financial losses to the Australian Government, private industry and individuals.
A set of standard definitions were developed by the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre's Proof of Identity Steering Committee for use by law enforcement throughout Australia (ACPR 2006:15):
The term identity encompasses the identity of natural persons (living or deceased) and the identity of bodies corporate.
Identity fabrication to be used to describe the creation of a fictitious identity
identity manipulation to be used to describe the alteration of one's own identity
identity theft to be used to describe the theft or assumption of a pre-existing identity (or a significant part thereof), with or without consent and whether, in the case of an individual, the person is living or deceased
Identity crime is used as a generic term to describe activities/offences in which a perpetrator uses a fabricated identity; a manipulated identity; or a stolen/assumed identity to facilitate the commission of a crime(s).
Information can be found in Counting the costs of identity crime and misuse in Australia on the Australian Institute of Criminology website.
Once a criminal has the information they need, they could:
- apply for a credit card in your name
- open a bank or building society account in your name
- apply for other financial services in your name
- run up debts (e.g. use your credit/debit card details to make a purchase) or obtain a loan in your name
- apply for any benefits in your name (e.g. housing benefit, new tax credits, income support, job seeker's allowance, child benefit)
- apply for a driving licence in your name
- register a vehicle in your name
- apply for a job/employment in your name
- apply for a passport in your name
- Apply for a mobile phone contract in your name.
- You may become a victim of identity theft if:
- you have lost or had stolen important documents such as your passport or driving licence
- Mail expected from your bank has not arrived, or you are receiving no post at all.
You may already be a victim of identity theft if:
- items have appeared on your bank or credit card statements that you don't recognise
- you applied for a government benefit but are told that you are already claiming
- you receive bills, invoices or receipts addressed to you for goods or services you haven't asked for
- you have been refused a financial service, such as a credit card or a loan, despite having a good credit history
- a mobile phone contract has been set up in your name without your knowledge
- you have received letters from solicitors or debt collectors for debts that aren't yours.
Scams Using Credit Cards
Skimming is the illegal duplication of data from a card's magnetic stripe, often seen on the back of a debit or credit card. Most credit card skimming takes place when the card is not in the customer's direct visual field, such as during a purchase. Never give out your PIN or maintain a copy of it with your card, and always ask for your card back if a store employee tries to swipe it out of your sight or in a different machine. Alternatively, you can pay with a check or cash instead, or simply decline to make the purchase.
IPickpockets may stage a distraction in heavily travelled tourist areas. They give thieves the opportunity to steal your valuables while you are distracted by something else. Beggars pushing and shoving you from all sides, or an unknown person approaching you with an offer of help, are both effective ways to divert your attention.
You can reduce your risk of pickpocketing by remaining vigilant in high-risk areas, treating any unusual event as a potential pickpocketing attempt, storing valuables in hard-to-access pockets, and carrying a tamper-proof backpack or handbag.
Tourists are targets of visa scams when they are duped into paying for counterfeit, overpriced, or superfluous visas. There are third-party websites that will apply for your visa for a cost. Some of the websites included are outright frauds.
Read the travel advice for information on entry and exit restrictions before you travel, and apply for your visa through a link or organisation approved by the embassy or consulate of the country you will be visiting to reduce your risk of falling victim to a visa scam.
Tickets and lodging for major events, concerts, shows, and festivals are in high demand. Scammers can create fake websites, post fake ads for hotel rooms and vacation rentals on legitimate websites, and offer fake accommodation and ticket packages.
To avoid an accommodation or ticket scam, make a well-thought-out selection when looking at accommodation and ticket options, and use a reputable website.
There are legitimate ticket resellers, but if a deal appears to be too good to be true, it most likely is. Purchasing tickets from unlicensed sellers may be a crime. You could be arrested or imprisoned in another country.
Massage Or Tea Ceremony Scams
While out in public, you may be approached in a message or tea ceremony scam. You get invitations to nearby cafés or bars for massages, teahouse services, or English classes. You will be presented with an exorbitant bill once the services have been rendered. You are not permitted to leave until the bill is paid. Australian citizens have been subjected to violent assaults.
To avoid becoming a victim of this type of scam, do not accept invitations from strangers, be clear on the cost of services before proceeding, and arrange massages and similar services through your hotel or reputable provider.
In this scam, a colleague or "friend" will ask you to transport a bag or package on an international flight or across a border. They may offer to pay you or trick you into thinking you are assisting their family. These scams are related to relationship scams. The bag could contain illegal items such as drugs.
Never carry a bag or package for someone you've just met, and if you do carry something for someone you know and trust, make sure you know what's inside. Examine the inside.
Even if it isn't a drug, it could be an item that is restricted or forbidden in the next location you visit. While the victim is still in Australia, online scams frequently begin elsewhere. While you are in Australia, some people attempt to defraud you. Others try to entice you abroad with promises of love, wealth, or employment.
Business And Employment Scams
You may be offered lavish living quarters and a hefty salary as part of your new work. Criminals often demand up-front payment, claiming they need it to pay for legal documentation such work permits, visas, and immigration costs. Never part with your hard-earned cash or personal details unless you have verified the legitimacy of the transaction.
If you're offered a job or a working chance in a different country, make sure you investigate the company thoroughly before accepting the position. Verify the person's and the company's credibility. Verify if the work they're offering you is legal.
Friend Or Relative-In-Need Scams
While you're away, con artists may try to contact your loved ones via phone, email, or text message. Some people will approach you and claim to be from a medical facility, telling you that you require immediate medical attention.
The next step is to ask your loved ones for money so that you can get the immediate medical attention you require. Some con artists use hacking as a tool. They impersonate you on social media or through email, gaining access to your account.
The majority of the time, they require funds to cover transportation expenses or unexpected medical bills. Keep your passwords safe. When using public computers while travelling, be cautious. Don't connect to any unsecured public WiFi networks. It is critical to maintain contact with loved ones. Keep in touch with them on a regular basis to reassure them.
Because of its size and popularity, Melbourne is a prime target for con artists. Protect yourself from the most typical forms of fraud aimed at travellers. Those who have been victims of fraud while exploring the world can find more information at Scammed Overseas. The rental of jet skis, motorcycles, and automobiles have all been mentioned as targets of rental scams in other countries. Before choosing a car service, research customer feedback for local firms online.
If a cashier tries to use your card somewhere other than right in front of you, always demand to have it returned. Visa scams target tourists by convincing them to purchase fake, overpriced, or unnecessary visas. Scammers have many avenues open to them, including the creation of phoney websites, the placement of bogus advertisements for hotel rooms and vacation rentals on reputable websites, and the provision of fake lodging and con artists may try to contact your family and friends via phone, email, or text message while you are in Australia. Hacking is a method that scammers use to access your account. Research the company thoroughly if you are offered a job or working opportunity in a foreign country.
- Avoid getting taken in by any of the many possible scams that could happen to you when you're visiting a foreign place.
- Melbourne, Australia is hardly an exception, and its high population and tourist numbers may make it more susceptible to scams than other destinations.
- And what dangers should you be aware of while in Melbourne?
- Take precautions against the most common types of fraud that target tourists and travellers before you leave the country.
- Scammed Overseas is a page that can provide you with additional resources if you have been taken advantage of while travelling abroad.
- Unlicensed, unmetered drivers are common in airport arrivals halls and major tourist areas.
- Be wary of taxi drivers who appear friendly but try to sell you expensive tours.
- Tips to avoid taxi scams: Before travelling, find out what transportation services are available at the airport and follow any signage or advise from authorities to official taxi services.
- Unlicensed taxi drivers are likely to approach you in airport terminals and offer their services.
- Transport companies in Australia have been harassing and threatening residents for allegedly returning damaged rental vehicles.
- Before renting a vehicle, research internet reviews of local travel businesses, inspect it for damage, and make sure your insurance covers recreational vehicles, especially if you're unlicensed in Australia.
- Never use your passport as a deposit or collateral.
- When travelling, try to avoid using large bills to pay for small purchases.
- Pickpockets may stage a distraction in heavily travelled tourist areas.
- Remain cautious in high-risk regions, treat any strange incident as a pickpocketing attempt, store valuables in hard-to-access pockets, and carry a tamper-proof bag.
- There are third-party websites that will apply for your visa for a cost.
- To avoid an accommodation or ticket scam, make a well-thought-out selection when looking at accommodation and ticket options, and use a reputable website.
- In this scam, a colleague or "friend" will ask you to transport a bag or package on an international flight or across a border.
- Never carry a bag or package for someone you've just met, and if you do carry something for someone you know and trust, make sure you know what's inside.
- Even if it isn't a drug, it could be an item that is restricted or forbidden in the next location you visit.
- While the victim is still in Australia, online scams frequently begin elsewhere.
- While you are in Australia, some people attempt to defraud you.
- While you're away, con artists may try to contact your loved ones via phone, email, or text message.
- The next step is to ask your loved ones for money so that you can get the immediate medical attention you require.
- Some con artists use hacking as a tool.
- Keep your passwords safe.
- It is critical to maintain contact with loved ones.
- Keep in touch with them on a regular basis to reassure them.
“Scams That Affect Travellers | Smartraveller.” Scams That Affect Travellers | Smartraveller, www.smartraveller.gov.au, 14 Nov. 2019, https://www.smartraveller.gov.au/before-you-go/safety/scams.