Identifying and avoiding taxi scams

Posted Date: 07 November 2014
Taxi scams

Don't be caught out by dishonest taxi drivers.

An increasing number of Australian travellers are being taken advantage of by dishonest taxi drivers. Southern Cross Travel Insurance CEO Craig Morrison says that it’s becoming more and more important that travellers stay alert so that their luggage is not stolen at the end of a taxi ride.

Common claims involve:

  • Taxi drivers speeding off as soon as travellers get out of the vehicle, leaving them stranded without their luggage.
  • An accomplice working alongside the taxi driver will run by and swipe the traveller’s luggage as it is being unloaded by the driver.
  • Drivers who insist their customers take a seat in the cars whilst they load their luggage into the boot for them. When the passenger finds some bags are missing at their destination, the driver is ‘shocked’ - of course his accomplice has taken them and there’s no way of knowing what has actually just happened.

These types of opportunistic criminals prey on all kinds of tourists with all kinds of luggage types. It’s not just expensive leather bags and laptop satchels that are being stolen, but primary luggage/suitcases, which have the contents of an entire trip worth of items, new purchases and souvenirs in them.

Until now taxi scams have been most common in countries such as India, Thailand, Vietnam, Hong Kong and Malaysia – but we’ve started to receive claims of this nature from Europe and South America also.

Over the past year SCTI claims assessors have noted more claims involving taxi scams being submitted and we are urging travellers to remain extremely vigilant in such situations.

When travelling using taxis, we strongly recommend:

  • Keep your most valuable luggage with you in the taxi; don’t put it in the boot.
  • Personally watch as your bags are being loaded into the boot.
  • Don’t put your luggage in the boot while the driver is behind the wheel, unless a passenger door is open or your travelling companion is in the car.
  • Make sure you exit the taxi after the driver and via the door furthest away from the driver. When doing this, leave your door open, which prevents the driver from taking off before you unload all of your bags.

Related Articles

Driving overseas

Take the risk out of driving on foreign roads

We’re reminding customers to focus on the basics of road safety when driving on foreign roads. Read more. read more

Keep money and documents safe

Keep money safe when travelling overseas

Take some extra precautions to keep your money and travel documents safe while travelling overseas. read more