January 26, 2015

January 26, 2015

Beat These Common Las Vegas Travel Scams

Welcome to another day in my life. Today is Monday and I hope you had a beary safe and great weekend. This week Dab the AIDS Bear is in Las Vegas for a conference.

Speaking of Las Vegas, we would like to warn our friends about some travel scams there in case you decide to ever travel there so you can wake up in Vegas a winner - not a victim.

In Las Vegas, there are many acceptable ways to lose money, such as casinos, at a show, or on another outrageous, once-in-a-lifetime experience. But there are also plenty of bandits left in Vegas that aren't of the one-armed variety, and they're all looking for easy ways to separate you from your hard-earned vacation money.

While a weekend in Las Vegas can be a great time, it can also come with a whole lot of unsuspecting hazards you may never have thought to consider. While you may not be able to beat the house, you'll at least be able to beat the scam artists when you're on the lookout for these common travel situations.

Travel Scam No. 1: The Long-Route Taxi Driver

Catching a cab in Las Vegas can be a difficult endeavor to begin with. Those coming out of the airport have to wait in long lines in the heat before they can even get access to a driver, and those at off-strip hotels may be waiting a while before they'll be able to get a driver. When it finally comes your turn, a taxi driver may take you - and your wallet - for a ride.

Long-hauling is a common taxi scam that can happen anywhere, but is much more relevant in Las Vegas. If you know where you want to go, be sure to map out the most direct route ahead of time, and ask your driver to take the route. Additionally, to avoid paying for an un-necessary tour, you can also ask your driver to take the quickest route. Finally, if you can, be sure to pay your taxi fare in cash. Drivers are usually much more accommodating for a cash tip, and taxis in Las Vegas charge a $3 fee to pay by credit card.

Travel Scam No. 2: Skimming for Credit and Debit Cards

So you've just lost your final ten dollars to a slot machine that you know is going to pay out next time around. You hit up the ATM, to get out some cash - because that extra cash is all you'll need to hit that jackpot. Little do you know that your trip to the ATM may cost you a lot more than you think.

Because of the high concentration of ATMs in Las Vegas, card skimming scams can affect anyone. And while ATMs are a primary target, card skimmers can be found at any automated card reader - even gas pumps! Disguised to look like part of the machine, card skimmers gather your card information once you swipe it in the machine. From there, the scam artists can use that information to illegally access your funds.

Unfortunately, it can be difficult to spot a skimming device. If you need to get out cash, be sure to use a secure ATM in a high visibility area, and be very aware of your surroundings. If an ATM looks suspicious, walk away, and find another ATM.

Travel Scam No. 3: Very Few Things in Las Vegas Come Free

If you've ever walked the streets of Las Vegas, you know that it's impossible to go a block before somebody is trying to offer you something for free. In many of these situations, you get exactly what you pay for: absolutely nothing.

One of the more common situations includes running into "club promoters" on the streets, offering you free VIP passes for the biggest night clubs in Las Vegas. Although they claim to be free passes, these "promoters" will often ask for a tip, as a thanks for getting you setup with the club. In fact, these VIP passes are often only good at off-peak hours, if at all - leaving you with a fancy piece of paper for the price of the tip.

If a deal sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Should you get approached by one of these "promoters," your best bet is to politely decline and walk away. If you're truly looking for a way to get into a nightclub, try the hotel concierge or front desk for tips. Otherwise, you'll simply have to wait your turn in line.

Las Vegas can bring out the fun in almost anyone, but only if you're placing a personal bet on your safety. By being aware of the more common scams of Vegas, you'll be able to make sure your adventures are pleasant and fun whenever you go!

Hope these tips help make your trip to Vegas a beary great and scam free one!

Until we meet again; here's wishing you health, hope, happiness and just enough.

big bear hug,

Daddy Dab