Airport Scams to Avoid

airport scams to avoid

Let’s get on tour to know more airport scams. The Master of travelogues, Paul Theroux, has said in the 1979 travel book ‘The Old Patagonian Express’ that people need to appreciate the process of the journey, too, besides the destination. Folk seem never to be as much aware as they ought to be, either in-flight or airports. In-flight, a tourist cannot form a clear view of whatever’s observable from the windows – or inside the plan, too. He’s lost too much in the destination or affairs back where he embarked from. More importantly, per Theroux, every moment in the airport experience ought to be savoured, too.

Bit veering slightly to the skewed nature of cams – your heightened airport connoisseur-sense should pay dividends if you are scam-vigilant as well. The thrill of skimmer-laced ATMs, distractor-scammers, compromised ‘free’ wifi – shysters are ever so obliging, always. There are possible extortionate deals foisted upon you if you rush thru without thinking. Not least important, you could get mail while in the airport – from scammers. Airport scams to avoid are also a reminder that you can really never ‘get away from it all. The best course is to put your vigilance mode in a drawer in your mind and pull it open as soon as cues to suspicion kick in. 

Airport scams to avoid: cues for creative vigilance-stimulating juices 

The following sort can kick in the cues to scam-suspicion: 

  • Loiterers; 
  • Distractors; 
  • Bumper; 
  • Unsolicited ‘free’ help;  
  • Pickpockets skulking near exits; 
  • Vendors of the extortionate charms; 
  • The ‘extra’ greeter; 
  • The airport hacker that stings Bluetooth; 
  • Taken for a ride by broken meter taxi. 

The queue staller Airport scams

Notwithstanding the tightened airport security these days, ingenious scammers are using the airport security procedure.The objective: to make away with the victim’s most valuable goods. 

Upon unloading your valuables in a conveyor belt tray, the latter slides off for scanning. You are all set for the body scanner, but the guy in front of you is taking a very long time . He is a procrastinator, he keeps diving into various pockets, taking out a never-ending stream of baubled odds and ends. After what seems like a very long time, you are thru , only to find your valuables have taken a hike. 

You just encountered a security staller, keeping you engaged while their accomplice made away with your belongings. It really does pay to keep your eyes glued to the belt at all times. 

The Distractor 

Someone leads you away from your suitcase. Then, another ‘has his way ‘with said suitcase. by the time you return to it, the suitcase is minus your money and passport. 

It helps to have a copy of relevant passport pages upon your person at all times – just in case. 

The baggage carousel bump 

At the baggage carousel, someone bumps into you. You think n more of it when they say sorry. Moments later, you and your wallet are gone. 

The suitcase helper 

Someone offers to help you with your luggage but then refuses to part with it unless you give them money first. It’s better to hire an airport porter than ask random folk for help. 

Airport pickpockets 

Upon picking up your luggage, you may be unfocussed searching for exit signs, car rental desks, or wherever they are selling drinks. But, even as you are distracted, you’re the object of riveted attention from pickpockets. 

You will come to know of your losses only once it’s too late. 

Keep your valuables on your person – as in jackets or handbags. Ask your insurance cover provider if your policy covers incidents like this. 

The Mobile phone airport scams 

Vendors rent you a mobile phone with the ‘bait’ that you get your security deposit back when you return the phone. They do not tell you about the extortionate charges. Get your mobile calls much cheaper by researching companies before you have left home. 

False greeter 

In case you have asked your hotel to send you a taxi, there could be more than one person holding up a card greeting your arrival. You can now be ‘taken for a ride.’

The Bluetooth sting 

If your handset is on ‘discoverable ‘mode, an airport hacker can pair it with your device. Then, they can steal information or install malware. 

Do not forget to unselect the discoverable option on your device. Let sensitive data be safe from shysters. Use encryption software. There is more about airport scams you should know that can save your money and privacy.

The Tampered airport ATM. 

The scam can take place since you are not mindfully aware. You would be best advised to be on the lookout for compromised cash machines. Keep your eyes peeled for tampering signs on the boy of the machine. Scammers can easily use skimming devices to get ahold of your personal information. If you espy a skimming device on the body of the cashpoint, be sure to let the relevant bank staff know. Barring this, there’s always the Police who would appreciate some citizens keeping their peepers open. 

A skimmer is a card reader masquerading as an integrated part of an ATM. This type in airport scams is in trend as travelers are not aware of skimming devices. The skimmer attachment gathers PIN codes and card numbers. These are then replicated onto ersatz cards. The fraud type skimming takes place when a skimmer compromises an ATM.

The act of sliding down your card into an ATM that, unbeknownst to you, has a skimmer attached implies that you invariably also slide the card through the counterfeit reader. The latter scans and stores all your data from the magnetic stripe, besides capturing your PIN from the keypad, this is arguably the worst of all possible card scams. The data so gathered can easily be used to make ATM withdrawals.

Compromised ATM: Network Hacked 

The ATMs telecommunications connection gives another indication of how a new type of cashpoint scam may proceed. Though this has not been proven, it is posited that it just might be possible for cashpoint scammers to intercept communications between the bank and the cash machine. This might further facilitate malware installation. The latter would guide/misguide the ATM to dispense large cash amounts to unauthorised persons. 

Airport Scams : ‘Free Wifi’ 

There’s good wifi at the airport. You think nothing of using it. However, there is a strong chance it is compromised. You are now connected to a fake network. This permits a scammer to intercept all network traffic, apart from doing away with your funds. Unfortunately, this is not the end of the annoyance. With every turning on of your mobile, you are now carrying wifi that others would discover. They, too, risk exposure to unscrupulous scammers. 

Pay to have access to a secure network. Your wifi has to be original, legit, paid for, with antivirus software and firewall; in place.

The Broken Taxi meter 

Much after you have boarded a taxi, they might inform you that their meter is broken; therefore, you will be asked to pay upfront. As for the ride, you will have been ‘taken for a ride’. 


The list of airport scams to avoid is still more comprehensive. Since you will be carrying your laptop, it would be useful to be wary of airport scams that accompany you on your journeys. Any number of things are possible, and it would be best if you attend to your security needs even as you do at home. A firewall, a good antivirus software – and you just might escape the ones looking to seek your various IDs and private financial information. Regardless of the scam mails’ actual content, by and large scammers will try to really rush you, so you only have to be calm and collected . Do not give away vital info over email or the phone.

You do not want to inadvertently download malware due to a rushed reading of a sudden mail from purportedly your bank. Whether WIFI or Bluetooth , be discoverable only in forms that promote overall security. False greeters, dishonest cabbies, unsolicited help provision, pickpockets – you are truly the storm’s centre. Therefore, all the more reason you ought to work all the implications of airport scams into your schedule. Integrate all tips into your vigilance scheme, and enjoy airports and flights as Theroux advised. 

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