LIST: Scams that travelers should avoid this Holy Week

LIST: Scams that travelers should avoid this Holy Week

/ 05:48 PM March 13, 2024

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Transportation (DOTr) has identified 14 common scams that travelers should avoid this Holy Week.

This is part of the DOTr’s launch of an awareness campaign aimed at ensuring the safety of travelers by flagging scams during the Lenten Season.

READ: Naia gearing up for Holy Week travel rush


The campaign “Online Bantay Lakbay 2024”  was done in collaboration with the Department of Information and Communications Technology – Cybercrime Investigation and Coordinating Center (DICT-CICC) and Scam Watch Pilipinas.


According to the transportation department, vacationers must steer clear of the following scams:

1. Fake accommodation

These villas or hotel rooms are advertised at unbelievably low rates. However, when you book them in advance, you will later discover that no booking was actually made.

2. Fake WiFi

Public WiFi is a playground for hackers who set up fake hotspots to steal personal data.

3. Too-good-to-be-true deals


Unsolicited emails, messages, or random Facebook offers promising the lowest prices on flights and hotels but often disappear once payment is made.

4. “Free” vacation trap

“You’ve won! All you need is to pay a small fee!” These scams often involve hidden costs or high-pressure timeshare sales. Others may ask you to complete a survey to receive free airfare and accommodation.

5. Fake travel agents

Impersonators offer incredible deals, only to disappear with your payment.

6. Overpriced tours

Scammers offer tours at popular destinations and inflate prices for “exclusive” tours or activities.

7. Charity cons

Exploiting generosity, scammers create fake charities to enhance the credibility of a deceptive website, using the guise of a legitimate organization to gain trust and deceive individuals.

8. Counterfeit cash

Beware of foreign exchange centers that offer attractive exchange rates. They could conceal the circulation of counterfeit money.

9. Hidden CCTVs

An emerging and disturbing trend in vacation scams involves the unauthorized use of hidden cameras in hotels and rented accommodations. These devices are installed without the guest’s consent or knowledge, breaching privacy and unlawfully recording personal moments.

10. Colorum (unregistered) vehicles

At most airports’ arrival areas, travelers may encounter individuals offering private car services to their destination. However, they often lack meters and may overcharge.

11. Selling lost luggage on Facebook

Some individuals may sell lost luggage on social media. Airport authorities have strict protocols on handling lost luggage and selling them online is not one of them.

12. Fake SIMs

Buying SIM cards in other countries to save on mobile internet is common. However, be cautious of individuals selling discounted SIM cards. These are often fake or have limited bandwidth.

13. Fixers

Convenience, faster transactions, and cutting lines are some of the enticements offered by fixers at ticket booths, whether at airports, seaports, bus terminals, or train stations. However, it is important to never use the services of fixers as they do not represent the DOTr.

14. Cheap airline tickets on social media

Beware of extremely cheap airline tickets being sold on social media. Scammers often offer significant discounts within a limited time frame to pressure buyers into making immediate purchases.

To avoid falling victim to such scams, the DOTr encourages travelers to do their research on companies and individuals offering them products and services that they believe to be suspicious.

READ: PNP deploying 34,000 cops for Holy Week, summer season security

The transportation department also urged scam victims to report to its hotline: 1236. Victims may also report to the DOTr commuter hotline, 0920-964-3687.

“The objective of the collaboration of Scam Watch Pilipinas, CICC, DOTr, and SAICT (Special Action and Intelligence Committee for Transportation) is to implement an awareness campaign against common travel scams in time for Holy Week,” Scam Watch Pilipinas CEO Jocel De Guzman told

READ: Another reason to quit social media this Holy Week: your safety

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“CICC and Scam Watch Pilipinas will be placing anti-scam information materials with hotlines in all monitors and key areas of all airports, seaports, bus terminals, train, MRT & LRT stations. We want Filipinos to report incidents of scams be it online or on the ground,” he added.

TAGS: Holy Week, Scam

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