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Beware being scammed while abroad

Holidaymakers urged to take care

Holiday money

Around 7% of Brits who have travelled abroad in the past two years have lost money to conmen or thieves, according to research from Sainsbury’s Travel Money. 

According to the new findings, the average value of money or possessions stolen was £414. The research reveals that of those people who suffered from thefts or cons in the last two years, almost two thirds (59%) had loose cash taken while nearly one in four (23%) had their entire wallets or purses taken. 

Other stolen items included credit or debit cards (14%), mobile phones (12%), cameras (10%), clothing (10%), iPods or similar devices (7%) and watches (6%).

Beware travel scams

The research highlighted scams and techniques thieves and conmen have used to swindle Britons whilst abroad in the past two years, including:

  • ‘The seat belt fine’ – the taxi driver pretends you need to pay a fine for not wearing a seatbelt and hands your money to a ‘policeman’ he is in cahoots with, or disappears round a corner to pretend he is paying an official at the airport
  • ‘The beachcomber’ – the thief watches you on the beach then takes your bag or possessions while you are swimming in the sea
  • ‘The distraction dupe’ – one fraudster distracts you with a false story or by making conversation while their accomplice goes through your bag or pockets
  • ‘The bus breakdown’ – the driver pretends your bus has broken down in the middle of nowhere and forces passengers to pay more money to be collected by a second bus
  • ‘The note switch’ – a taxi driver or barman takes a large note from you, then switches it and shows you a smaller one, claiming you owe him or her more money.

Get the right travel cover

Which? travel insurance analyst Paul Davies added: ‘The research provides a timely reminder that you should take out the necessary travel insurance when venturing overseas. Our list of Which? Recommended Providers is a good starting point when choosing cover.

‘You should look for a policy that pays out at least £500 for cash if your money is stolen or lost. Our recommended travel insurance policies all offer at least £1,500 of baggage and belongings cover, plus additional cover for money.’

More on this…

  • Rip-offs and scams – our guide offers advice to avoid scams
  • Best Buy travel insurance – policies that meet your needs
  • Travel insurance Which? Recommended Providers – insurers we rate
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