Travel Tips & Adventures

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Getting Scammed: A Travel Advisory Update

Last month I reported that I had been scammed. As unpleasant an experience as it was, the whole situation has gotten worse! I’m also kicking myself that I let myself be duped. I do have to admit that the con artist was very clever.

To bring anyone who has not been following this blog up to date, I was staying overnight at the Queen Mary Hotel. I received a call in the early morning, shortly before I was leaving to sightsee, claiming that the caller was the hotel’s night auditor and that they had had problems in processing my credit card. The idea was not outrageous since my city had recently had a zip code change. Other vendors were telling me that they could not find my zip code, either.

When a similar situation happened two years ago in my rapidly growing city, it took six months before my zip code was recognized. So, I had similar issues previously – which set me up for the slick con artist.

A warning, which I will now heed personally – never give your credit information to someone who calls you! As the American Express people told me, they KNOW my information and they do not need to ask it. Instead, they have security questions, which weed out any scammers.


After checking with the Queen Mary Hotel, I later found out that all of their night auditors are women and they would not have called me at the hour I was scammed, since they finished earlier than that every morning. 

A month of aggravation

Whoever scammed me made two major charges within two hours of talking with me. I am still disputing charges from a firm called “TRACFONE.” They submitted documentation claiming I had purchased 1,000 minutes of airtime at $100 plus tax. Funny thing – I never – I repeat never authorized that charge. However, the American Express people initially let their pile of documentation impress them so they were going to close my case, put the charges back on my file and make me pay the money.

I complained loud and clear. The documentation (five double-sided pieces of paper) sent from Tracfone to American Express contained some highly dubious charges. My name was spelled wrong, my city was “No City,” my zip code was listed as being in Florida, and other completely WRONG information.

Needless to say, I was incensed. I called American Express, pointed out these lies and they have reopened the fraud case.

I have spent at least 12 hours on this. Not only has it been necessary so that my credit record is not blackened, but I refuse to just give in and pay for a charge I did not make.

So beware! When traveling – or using credit anywhere – as travel requires, be careful! As I saw on a letter from a credit bureau years ago, “Guard your credit like a sacred trust.”

I’ll update as this issue, hopefully, is resolved.

If my sad tale helps and saves anyone else from this problem, I’ll have performed a major public service.

Good luck and happy traveling!

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