Fraud & Identity Fraud & Identity

Fraud & Identity Featured Article

July 26, 2017

Don't Let Fraudsters Triple the Cost of Your Vacation

Picture this: You’ve been working hard at your job for months now without a break. Finally, just when you thought your head was about to explode from the amount of work you’ve been doing, the week of your vacation arrives. You happily get on the plane and fly to your sunny destination, beyond ready for a week of rest, relaxation, and a bit of adventure. However, you end up getting a lot more adventure than you were hoping for when you’re robbed at knife-point.

The above scenario probably sounds like the beginning of a movie, everyone’s worst nightmare. Unfortunately for Elizabeth and John Gilbert, this became their reality on their Athens vacation. The couple was ambushed on a Sunday afternoon when two attackers held knives to their throats and stole their belongings. The robbers got away with all of their belongings, including their money and mobile phones.

First thing Monday morning, the couple contacted Vodafone, their service provider, to inform the company of the theft. However, that didn’t stop a phone bill of £5,789 from arriving a month later.

“It appears we fell victim not only to theft at knife-point, but also to one of Europe’s fastest-growing crimes, where thieves use stolen SIM cards to repeatedly dial premium rate numbers set up by gang members who profit from the proceeds,” John Gilbert told The Guardian. “Vodafone insists we should pay this massive sum, without giving any consideration to the circumstances.”

The Guardian expands on this further, writing, “Few people have any inkling that bills of thousands of pounds can be racked up in just hours when their mobiles are stolen. In a global racket known as international revenue share fraud, gangs target holiday resorts and use the SIMs from stolen handsets to ring international premium rate numbers in countries in Africa and Asia, where the cost of connecting a call is high. The fraudsters are paid a fee by the premium rate number provider for every minute of calls they make.”

Tourists have a tendency to wander around in a daze, enjoying the view, unaware of the fraudsters picking them out as targets. It’s easy to forget about fraudsters when traveling if you’re unaware of the threat, and too many tourists aren’t well-informed on the different kinds of fraud out there. We all know to watch our purses and lock our belongings when traveling, but we don’t often think about how bad it would be to have our information stolen. Nowadays, we have to worry about more than just some cash being taken. We have to worry about credit cards and phones as well, which are often gateways to much larger parts of our lives.

As we near mid-July and vacations hit full swing, remember to keep an eye on your belongings. Contact your providers and banks before you go so they know to look out for suspicious activity, and remember to be aware of your surroundings. After all, there’s more at stake here than a potential sunburn. 

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