How the scam works:
You just got off of a long flight. You're in a foreign country and all you want to do is go to the hotel and crash. You walk out of your gate, get your luggage and are finally on your way out when you stop and take a second look at something. It's a chauffeur holding up a sign with your full name on it. You didn't schedule a pickup, you didn't tell anybody what time your flight arrives, but obviously someone is looking out for you.
You approach the man and he introduces himself as the driver for the hotel you are staying at – which he also accurately knows! He said he was sent to pick you up, and you really appreciate the gesture. You hop in the car and he takes you in the direction of the hotel, but stops along the way.
He then informs you he won't take you there unless you pay him hundreds of dollars as a fare. You're in a foreign country and it's night, so you see no other choice than to pay him the money. How did he get both your name and the hotel you’re staying at? You later discover that this man did not work for the hotel; he just had an insider within the airline crew, who called him as soon as all the passengers filled out the custom cards during the flight. Actually, in this situation, an expensive fare may be the best case scenario: in countries like India and Venezuela, you could be facing robbery or kidnapping.
How to avoid:
The airport and the hotel will usually have their own taxi service, which will be a lot trustworthier. You can also take note of what the locals are doing or find out if there is any public transit.
Alternatively, if you are about to travel soon, do your homework before and use only trustworthy companies for everything you get involved in.
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