The Investigators: Travel scams

By Andy Wise - bio | email | Twitter | Facebook

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - Phony parking attendants.  Fake tour guides.  Front desk impostors.

For a second, put aside the research you're doing on the sites, stores and attractions of your vacation destination.

Instead, take a look at a few of the innovative scams that and the American Automobile Association say are happening at vacation spots both in the United States and abroad:

* PHONY PARKING ATTENDANT SCAM. says in Europe, scam artists are posing as phony parking attendants who pretend they don't speak your language.  They awkwardly convince you they can park your car at a hotel or restaurant for a big wad of cash.  The truth is they have no affiliation with the proprietor.  They take your cash -- and maybe even your car.

"A very easy way to tell is do they have a uniform on with the logo of the restaurant you're going to," says Martha Meade of AAA.

* FAKE TOUR GUIDES.  These scammers hang out near popular attractions.  They either convince you they can give you a discounted tour or sell you on "exclusive access" to tours not available to the general public.  Don't fall for a tour guide soliciting at the site.  Use guidebooks and web sites sanctioned by the attraction BEFORE you arrive or use a reputable travel agent.

"Book a package that includes things like various modes of transportation, parking and tour guides," says Meade.

* HOTEL CLERK IMPOSTOR.  You check in late.  You doze off.  Suddenly, your room phone rings.  The caller claims to be the front desk clerk.  He says he's having a problem running your credit card, and he needs you to read the number back to him to try again.

It's not the clerk.

It's really someone on the outside who called the hotel asking to be transferred to a random hotel room.  "They now have your credit card number," Meade says.

To see's Top 10 travel scams, click here:

For AAA's travel and protection information, click here:

Copyright 2009 WMC-TV. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.