Safe travel advice
WITH THE SUMMER vacation season upon us, it
is important to be smart and focused to avoid being
separated from your money. Here are some of the
most common scams to be aware of when traveling.
One credit card scam can occur when you make
a purchase from a local shop. Your card will be taken
into the back of the shop, and while you think it’s
being charged for what you’ve just purchased, the
scammer is cloning your card on a device that captures your numbers so they can be copied to a counterfeit card, complete with security holograms.
Sometimes this can take place right in front of you,
under the shop desk or any number of places you
can’t see. An accomplice might even try to distract
you with an argument or altercation.
Another con may take place right in your hotel
room. The scammer will call and claim he or she is
from the front desk and needs additional information
in regard to your bill. You will be asked for details,
such as the numbers of the credit card in question.
Never let your credit card out of your sight, even
when you are paying a shopkeeper. If you can see
your card, you can see what’s happening to it. If
you’re called with the late-night card scam, tell the
caller you will bring your card to the front desk in
Offers of a free vacation may arrive via snail
mail or email. They announce you’ve been selected
to win a free vacation. However, to claim the “gift,”
you must pay a processing fee that may actually
exceed the cost of a similar trip. Also, you may
notice that the travel dates are limited.
Sometimes the phone number by which you
can purportedly redeem your prize is a 900 number
or one outside the United States—a ruse to generate
sky-high per-minute fees payable to the scammer.
Always do your own background check on every
detail of your vacation, and take note of any irregu-larities. Consider purchasing travel insurance, which
can protect you from financial and medical loss.
A common scam involves online reviews by
“anonymous sources.” Glowing reviews rave about
the accommodations. Beware, as these reviews
could be fake, generated by someone who works at
the hotel or a person with a controlling interest in
you staying there.
Trust reviews from reputable sources only, such
as Lonely Planet guidebooks. Compare and contrast
reviews, and take note of any discrepancies.
More in archives
On Costco.com, enter
“Connection.” At Online Edition,
search “David Horowitz.”
The best way to avoid trouble is to exchange
enough money before leaving for your destination. If
you must exchange money after arriving in a country, you should seek out an official entity at which to
exchange money, such as a bank or ATM, in order to
avoid being cheated.
© 2011 FIGH T BACK! INC. ALL RIGH TS RESERVED.
AMY CAN TRELL
David Horowitz is a leading consumer advocate (
He is a frequent guest on radio and television stations. Consult your
local listings for dates and times.
SEVERAL MONTHS AGO I
purchased a 2006 Subaru from
a Subaru dealer. A rod blew
through the engine and it was
towed back to the dealer. The
dealer told us that because
the car had aftermarket parts
not installed through Subaru,
the engine would not be
covered. The car was sold to
us with those parts, and we
were not told that because
of those parts the warranty
would be void. The dealer
then told us that if we paid
for the price of those parts,
they would activate the
warranty. However, after we
paid, Subaru said that they
still would not recognize the
warranty. What can I do?
FIRST OF ALL, take the
car to a mechanic to get a
on the damage, and
ask what may have
caused it. With this
information, go to
a second Subaru
dealer and tell
them what has
happened. If you
still are unable
to get the damage
repaired at no addi-
tional cost to you, call
the Subaru National
Center and demand
that you get the service
promised in your initial
warranty. They are re-
sponsible for any and all
damage on a car they sold
to you. Do not stop until
you are satisfied with the
repairs on the car. C
Drivers taking you from the airport into town
might try every trick in the book, from asking you
for an inflated fare to needlessly driving around the
streets to raise the price. Not only can this be costly,
but you could soon find yourself lost and helpless in
a foreign country.
Another scam can occur if your driver tells you
that your hotel or restaurant has been closed or
damaged and wants to drive you to another site.
Many times drivers and hotels work in cahoots, and
drivers will escort you to the hotel of
their choice, which is often subpar.
You may get fleeced for a couple of
tours and unnecessary meal plans
while they’re at it.
Arrive with knowledge of the
distance between the airport
and your hotel. Travel only
with licensed taxis, agree on
a fee before starting out and
don’t pay until you get
where you want to be.
Confirm your destination in advance. Make sure
you check the name and
address of the place
before you’re shuffled off.
To help you prepare
for your trip, visit www.
travel.state.gov. Here you’ll
find information such as
the location of the U.S.
embassy and any consular
offices; whether you need
a visa; crime and security
information; health and
medical conditions; and
localized hot spots. This
is a good place to start
learning about where you
are going. C
MAY 2011 ;e Costco Connection 15
Do you have a question for David?
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greatest interest to Costco members will be used in this column (with the permission
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