How the scam works:
This scam really requires a little bit of thinking and makes it a tough one to sniff out before it’s too late. It could happen anywhere.
How does the scam work? After pick pocketing tourists of their wallet, the crooks follow the victims to see what hotels they’re staying at. Then they call the hotel, asking to talk to the victim, as they know their full name.
The thief pretends to be an officer from the local Police station. The victim will be directed to come down in a few hours to pick his wallet up, which was apparently found by somebody.
Of course at this point the victim will feel a huge sense of relief, put his heart back in his chest and relax a little. Minutes later, the robbers call again and this time impersonate a rep from the victim’s bank, using the cards found in the wallet.
They allege they were just informed by the police about the situation and continue on to ask about canceling the cards. But before they do they will need to confirm the name and address, birth date, PIN, etc. And it’s the PINs they want so they can get some cash fast.
Chances are the victim won’t be worried much anymore, because they think they’ve gotten lucky and their wallet was found.
How to avoid:
Banks never ask for your PIN so that should be a give away that something is up. One way to be sure you really are talking to the police station or bank is to politely tell them you’re going to ring them back to be safe. And be sure to look the number up yourself and not ask them for the number. It’s pretty easy to hop onto the computer and get the number off the website.
However, as a rule of thumb, before you are going on holidays you should always send yourself an email with all the copies of your documents, in case things like this happen. Scan your passport, ID bank cards, and store them in your inbox.
If you are about to travel soon do your homework before; research your next destination and everything you might get involved in.