How to Avoid Snowbird Scams
Snowbirds know how to travel well and enjoy life. They also know that scams and con artists can be a part of travelling. Part of having a safe journey is knowing how to avoid common scams. While the vast majority of people around the world are kind, welcoming, and helpful, it is still wise to understand the potential problems that Snowbirds face so you don’t become a victim during your stay in the south.
These are some of the most typical scams found in popular southern tourist destinations. Fortunately, they are easy to avoid – as long as you are aware of them.
- Time share and rental scams. Snowbirds are known for long-term vacationing and renting or even purchasing properties abroad, which means that unknowing winter visitors may be offered an eclectic variety of ‘deals.’ Be very careful when making any type of transaction involving rental properties, purchasing real estate, or buying or selling a time share. Ask a lot of questions. Be wary of anyone who tries to pressure you into a deal quickly, and never give out your credit card number over the phone.
- Pickpockets. Especially in crowded areas, there may be gangs of pickpockets, usually kids, who prey on tourists in crowded shopping areas. Try not to carry a lot of cash and be aware of where you have your wallet. Back pockets and wide, loose purses are easy targets.
- The broken down car scam. This is a very unfortunate scam that Snowbirds have run into. Someone will tinker with your car while you are parked in a populated parking lot. Vehicles with out of state license plates are targeted. Then, that same someone will be there to offer to help you get the car started, for a fee of course. If you have car trouble, contact AAA, a friend, or the police.
- Telemarketers. This is a huge problem for Snowbirds who own summer condos or homes. Con artists can easily get your phone number. A common scam is to convince you someone from home needs you to wire money to get them out of trouble, such as your grandchild or nephew. Do not give these people any information, especially not your credit card number.
- Utility worker robberies. If someone arrives at your front-door and claims they need to come in to do work in your condo or rental, politely ask them to come back another time. If you didn’t initiate the service and no one informed you about it, such as your condo manager, then you are better off closing the door. You could be opening the door to stealthy robbers.
Safety Tips for Snowbirds
When you are travelling south, make sure you:
- Do travel with others. Especially in areas that con artists target, like flea markets, busy shopping centers, and restaurant strips, it is best to be with others.
- Don’t venture into unknown areas alone.
- Do carry a minimal amount of cash and plastic. Just carry what you need.
- Don’t flash your cash. In some tourist areas, this is a great way to attract pickpockets.
- Do enjoy the company of people you can trust.
- Don’t trust strangers. As a general rule of thumb, anyone that seems pushy or makes you uncomfortable, you need to be very careful around.
- Do keep a travel insurance policy that you can count on.
- Don’t travel without insurance. This can put you at risk for costly emergency medical expenses and leave you without the support that a good policy provides.
- Our travel insurance policies are available to travellers of all ages. We have great features that cater to Snowbirds, like 24-hour LiveTravel assistance, and BagTrak for help with lost or stolen luggage. Stay aware, stay covered, and enjoy your winter holiday with the knowledge you need for a safe experience every time you travel.
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