Top 10 Travel Scams to Watch Out For

Thursday, January 19, 2012 at 4:14am by Site Administrator

Traveling is generally an exciting and enjoyable experience, but it doesn’t take much to ruin a good trip. Every day, unsuspecting tourists fall victim to sneaky travel scams. It doesn’t matter how beautiful or quaint of a location, there are always scammers waiting to prey on naive, money-toting vacationers. Most scams can be prevented by using your common sense, while others are trickier and harder to spot. Before you travel domestically or internationally, it’s a good idea to do your homework and brush up on these 10 common travel scams.

  1. The overly helpful local

    Whether you’re traveling in the states or internationally, you should be wary of the overly helpful local who might try to scam you. This scam can be initiated by one or multiple people, but the goal is generally the same. The overly helpful local may approach you and warn you about pickpocketing and the safety of your wallet. They will also offer help with the ATM, so they can either get a good look at your pin number or steal your cash on the spot. These overly helpful locals have also been known to scout out people with flat tires or car problems and ambush them. Many times, the local will assist you and demand a tip for their help. Beware of these overly helpful locals and try to get assistance from a reputable source or establishment.

  2. The swoop-in

    The swoop-in is a carefully planned scam that preys on unsuspecting travelers. One of the scammers squirts mustard or a white substance that looks like bird poop and another person swoops in to wipe the mess away with napkins. While the unsuspecting tourist is being helped, another person or two come to the scene to steal wallets, purses, passports, and anything else they can get their hands on. Avoid becoming a victim of this scam by refusing help and cleaning the mess yourself.

  3. The attractive flirt

    This scam mostly applies to single male travelers who are easily smitten by attractive, foreign women, but that doesn’t mean an attractive male couldn’t pull the same stunt on a woman. The scam is fairly simple and quite predictable. An attractive, flirtatious woman approaches a single man and invites him to have a drink with her at a bar or nightclub. One drink can turn into several, resulting in an exorbitant bill at your expense. European travel expert, Rick Steves, says there are some variations to the scam, but warns against accepting invitations from complete strangers, especially when drinking.

  4. Monkey business

    It’s not every day that you see a monkey roaming the streets in America, which is why so many tourists fall for this unexpected scam. Once you get down on their level, everything is fair game for these furry creatures. The quick and nimble monkeys are trained to swipe your wallet, purse, passport, camera, sunglasses, and other belongings and run off. Then, a seemingly helpful local will offer to retrieve your items, but not without a fee or tip for their assistance. Oftentimes, the person who retrieves the goods is actually responsible for training the monkeys to be petty thieves. The best way to avoid this scam is to stay away from the monkeys or keep your important belongings out of reach.

  5. Phony police officers

    Scammers often go under disguise to make their ploy much more believable. A popular scam is to pretend to be police officers. They will stop travelers on the street and ask to see their wallet to search for counterfeit bills for their "protection." While the fake police search your wallet, they might take some bills and credit cards in the process. Although it can be difficult to tell the difference between real police and fake police, you might want to study the city’s police uniforms to avoid falling for this scam.

  1. Gold ring scam

    The lost gold ring scam has been going on for years and is particularly bad in Paris. Scammers will approach tourists with a "lost" gold ring and ask if they dropped it. As tourists examine the ring, they discover the pure gold authentication and the scammer asks them to try it on. Once the person tries on the ring, they are stuck. The scammer will ask the tourist to pay for the ring, often at a much higher price than what he or she paid for it, then proceed to beg for money. Avoid falling victim to this scam by ignoring the scammers or simply tell them "no" in your language of choice.

  2. Menu switcheroo

    While dining out abroad, watch out for the menu switcheroo. Restaurants that are looking to make some extra money will show tourists one menu before they order and present an overpriced bill after they finish eating. Anticipating a complaint, the manager or restaurant employee shows the customer a different menu with the inflated prices and insists that the bill is correct. This scam doesn’t always work out in the restaurant or establishment’s favor, but it’s a good idea to study the menu, keep one at your side, and brush up on the local language in case you have to argue your point. Also, before you travel, see if the U.S. Embassy has issued a tourist advisory that names certain places that have been known to rip off travelers.

  3. The slow count

    Another scam to look out for is the slow count, where cashiers purposely count a tourist’s money slowly, hoping that they will get antsy and leave before getting their total amount. The cashiers will take long pauses and move extremely slowly to make the process even more aggravating and drawn out. Avoid this scam by clearly stating the value of the bill and counting your money before you leave.

  4. Overpriced taxi ride

    Taxis are a necessary form of transportation when traveling abroad, so it’s important to keep your guard up when riding in them. The most common taxi scam is being overcharged by the driver. Avoid becoming a victim by using taxi stands, asking for the fare up front, and only taking taxis with meters in them.

  5. The gypsy baby toss

    If you’re traveling to Italy or Eastern Europe, you may have been warned about gypsies and their pickpocketing ways. A common way for gypsies to snatch your cash and belongings is to do the baby toss. Gypsy women will target single female travelers and approach them while holding a baby in a blanket, which is often a baby doll. Then, they’ll toss the baby into the travelers’ arms and another person will quickly steal their purse, wallet, jewelry, and anything else that’s accessible. The best way to avoid this shrewd scam is to steer clear of gypsies and beggars because they’re often up to no good.

Comments (0) | Filed under: Travel, vacation

Top 100 Entrepreneur Podcasts

Tuesday, November 13, 2007 at 11:35pm by Site Administrator

If you’re a busy entrepreneur, chances are you barely have time to brush your teeth, let alone brush up on all of the blogs, business news, and books out there. If you’re too busy to read, podcasts are a great alternative. Try listening to these podcasts for entrepreneurs while you’re on the go.

Startups

Hear about strategies for up and comers in these podcasts.

  1. FlyingStartups: Get monthly updates of interviews with well known startup entrepreneurs on FlyingStartups.
  2. Startup Nation Radio: The Sloan Brothers take you on their adventure of starting a dream business.
  3. Loic Le Meur: This serial startup entrepreneur creates podcasts with interviews, news and more.
  4. Andrew Allgaier: Andrew Allgaier’s on the brink of launching his business.
  5. Cubicle Divas: Leesa Barnes shares secrets on how women can start a new business on a shoestring.
  6. StartupBizCast: Steve Mullen’s Startup BizCast has loads of business advice and tips for startups.

Finance

Keep your mind on your money by checking out these podcasts that center on finance and investment.

  1. Business With Cents: This podcast is all about starting a successful business without a lot of cash.
  2. Best Accounting Practices: Listen to Best Accounting Practices for insight from CPA Jack Boyer.
  3. Venture Voice: These podcasts offer infomation on venture capital, entrepreneurship, and other topics in business.
  4. Entrepreneur Magazine Radio-Money/Jobs and Economy: This podcast covers news and interviews in money and economy.
  5. Kiplinger Personal Finance: Entrepreneurs need to keep a close eye on their personal finances. Learn how to do that with Kiplinger’s podcast.
  6. Entrepreneur and Investor Corner: This podcast is designed to help entrepreneurs get their feet wet in finance and investing.
  7. Joseph Associates: This podcast from Joseph Associates covers the merger and acquisition marketplace.
  8. QuickBooks Small Business Podcast: Get small business seminars in this podcast from QuickBooks.
  9. TaxQuips: If you’ve got a small business tax question, tune in to TaxQuips.
  10. Accounting Best Practices: Steve Bragg discusses a number of accounting topics in this podcast.

Inspiration

Use these podcasts to spark ideas and inspiration for your business.

  1. 60 Second Ideas: Get inspiration from these quick idea podcasts.
  2. Daily Thoughts for Business: These inspirational thoughts will brighten any entrepreneur’s day.
  3. Teen Biz: On this podcast, you’ll find business ideas for teens and young adults.
  4. Biz Op Radio: Chris Murch stays on top of business opportunities in this podcast.
  5. HBR Ideacast: This ideacast from Harvard Business Review offers loads of management ideas and commentary.
  6. Entrepreneur Cast: Learn how to take your inspiration beyond the concept with Entrepreneur Cast.
  7. Tweak!: Tweak! teaches entrepreneurs to make small changes in their business.
  8. Escape From Cubicle Nation: Pamela Slim’s podcast is all about getting out of the cubicle and into a life you can enjoy.
  9. iinnovate: Learn about innovation and entrepreneurship with this podcast.
  10. Killer Innovations: Phil McKinney shares his knowledge about creativity and innovation.

Productivity

Listen to these podcasts for strategies and help for staying on top of everything.

  1. Gain Control of Your Day: Use these tools and techniques to stay on top of your productivity.
  2. A Motivated Entrepreneur: Get motivated with this podcast.
  3. Smarter By The Minute: Work smarter and live happier by checking out Smarter By The Minute.

Marketing

These podcasts provide loads of ideas for getting the word out about your business.

  1. Aggressive Marketing & Entrepreneurship Podcast: Tune into Michael Cage’s podcast to learn about strategies and news for marketing your business.
  2. The Cold Calling Podcast: Listen to the Cold Calling Podcast for tips, insight, and tricks on telephone prospecting and lead generation.
  3. Guerilla Marketing: Find out what people want online and how to be an exceptional guerilla marketer with this podcast.
  4. Recognized Expert Marketing: Listen in to this podcast to learn how becoming a recognized expert can help you with marketing.
  5. Biz III: Listen to this small business podcast for loads of tech-savvy marketing tips.
  6. Personal Brand Marketing: Check out Vikarm Rajan’s podcast for marketing tips you can use.
  7. Duct Tape Marketing: John Jantsch’s Duct Tape Marketing podcast delivers loads of marketing tips and offers lots of big-name guests.
  8. Marketing Edge: Check out Marketing Edge for insight on public relations, marketing, and more.
  9. Marketing Voices: Listen to Marketing Voices for perspectives on social media marketing.

Business Building

Build your business with these podcasts.

  1. Build a Private Practice: Learn how to build a private practice from therapists and experts who have been there before.
  2. Struggling Entrepreneur: Find out what this entrepreneur has learned along the way.
  3. Building a Home Business That Doesn’t Suck: Listen to this podcast to learn how to build a real home-based business.

Foreign

Check out these podcasts for business outside of the US.

  1. Business Coach Podcast-Canadian Small Business: This business coach has lots of advice for Canadian entrepreneurs.
  2. The China Business Show: Find out how business leaders do business in China.
  3. I’m Boss TV: Get small business information from Australians here.
  4. The Engaging Brand: Anna Farmery’s The Engaging Brand is all about a consultancy in the UK.
  5. China Business Podcast: Find out about growth and opportunities in China by listening to this podcast.
  6. Entrepreneur’s Journey: Check out Yaro Starak’s podcast to hear about the Australian’s journey as an entrepreneur.
  7. Small Biz Pod: Check out this podcast for UK entrepreneurs.
  8. InsidePR Podcast: This weekly Canadian podcast is all about public relations.

Interviews

In these podcasts, you’ll hear interviews with lots of successful entrepreneurs.

  1. Jenerous: Listen to the stories of entrepreneurs and marketers on Jenerous.
  2. Leader Network: On The Leader Network, you’ll listen to interviews on known and unknown leaders.
  3. Like Nobody’s Business: Lalita Amos’ podcast includes interviews and challenges to traditional business thinking.
  4. Startup Studio: With Startup Studio, you’ll enjoy interviews of entrepreneurs and learn how they did it.
  5. Biz Link Radio: On Biz Link Radio, you’ll get weekly interviews with entrepreneurs and executives.
  6. Entrepreneur Exclusive: Listen to exclusive interviews with entrepreneurs.
  7. Small Business Netcast: The panelists on this podcast discuss creating, developing, and managing small businesses.
  8. Round One: Listen to interviews of prominent entrepreneurs on Round One.
  9. Beermat Business Radio Show: Mike Southon, "Beermat Entrepreneur," interviews successful entrepreneurs, CEOs, and leaders.
  10. Meet The CEO: Listen to interviews of big-name CEOs on this podcast.
  11. DSM Buzz: This podcast interviews successful entrepreneurs and encourages consumers to buy local.
  12. Small Business Podcast: Listen to the Small Business Podcast for interviews with loads of business experts, entrepreneurs, and more.

Leadership

Learn how to be a good manager and leader using these podcasts.

  1. Change Maker Minute: Get motivational messages for leaders from this podcast.
  2. The Good Manager Podcasts: Learn how to be a good manager in these podcasts.
  3. Fireside Chat with Lisa Haneberg: Learn about business management with these podcasts from Lisa Haneberg.
  4. Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders: Check out these lectures from Stanford for thoughts from entrepreneurial leaders.
  5. Small Biz Survival: Becky McCray’s podcasts focus on business leadership and management advice.
  6. Manager Tools: Use Manager Tools to become a more effective manager and leader.

Technology

Get the latest in entrepreneurial tech news with these podcasts.

  1. eBiz Show: Learn about successful ebusinesses on this podcast.
  2. eCommerce RSS Radio Show: Listen in to this show for information about tracking topics online.
  3. The Podcast Brothers: Check out the Podcast Brothers for weekly infomation on the business side of audio and video new media.
  4. Managing The Gray: C.C. Chapman’s podcast discusses how entrepreneurs can use social media to their advantage.
  5. Internet Business Mastery: Listen to Sterling and Jay’s podcast for information on the art of internet marketing and online business.
  6. Calcanis: This CEO of Mahalo.com always has lots of special guests on his podcasts.
  7. The SBS Show: Manage your IT operations better by listening to the SBS Show.
  8. JoomlaJabber: Kathy and Tom discuss the Joomla open source content management service on this podcast.
  9. Podcasting for Business: This podcast will help you develop and create a podcast for your entrepreneurial venture.
  10. Midwest Business: Hear about business technology news that affects the midwest on this podcast.
  11. The Podcast Sisters: The Podcast Sisters is focused on small business and using the Internet to your advantage.
  12. CIO Podcast: Stay on top of the IT industry and learn how you can benefit from events.

Sales

For budding businesses, it’s all about focusing on sales. These podcasts do just that.

  1. Sales Roundup: Learn how to hire the right salespeople, keep communication with clients open, and more on Sales Roundup.
  2. Product Sourcing Podcast: Find out how you can find products to sell on this podcast.
  3. Copy That Sells Podcast: Learn how to write better copy with this podcast.

News

Get business news and commentary from these podcasts.

  1. New York Times: Stay on top of the latest news from all over the world with podcasts from The New York Times.
  2. On The Record: Listen to reporters from mainstream media discuss the future of the industry as well as marketing and business.
  3. Daily Review: Get an up to the minute briefing on daily news stories with this podcast.

General

For content that’s applicable to nearly every entrepreneur, check out these podcasts.

  1. Entrepreneur.com: Subscribe to Entrepreneur.com’s podcasts, and you’ll get access to loads of different topics for entrepreneurs.
  2. Mind Your Own Business Podcast: Listen to Mind Your Own Business for "the antidote to business advice."
  3. I’m There For You Baby: This "entrepreneur’s guide to the galaxy" covers a number of different topics for entrepreneurs.
  4. Business Week: On Business Week, you’ll hear about popular weekly features from Business Week magazine.
  5. SBA Podcast: Get access to loads of resources and help from the Small Business Administration with these podcasts.
  6. Small Business Radio: This podcast discusses recruiting, marketing, and more.
  7. Business Humor Podcast: See the humor in entrepreneurship with this podcast of Hesh Reinfeld’s columns.
  8. Microbusiness News Briefs: Dawn Rivers Baker covers everything of interest to microbusinesses and their entrepreneurs.
  9. The Trend Junkie: This junkie is addicted to both trends and entrepreneurship.
  10. Learn Small Business: Learn how to operate a solopreneur venture through this podcast.

Other

For even more thought-provoking content, listen to these podcasts.

  1. Entrepreneur Mum: This mom runs a business and a family.
  2. GopherHaul Lawn Care Podcast: Listen to this show to learn how you can create and maintain a successful lawn care business.
  3. Ask the Guru: Check in with real estate guru Larry King on this podcast.
  4. MBA Working Girl: Learn about both business school theory and real-world business practices from MBA Working Girl.
  5. Business Intelligence Network Solution Spotlights: Get business industry insights from experts in this podcast.

15 Gadgets to Turn Your Car into a Mobile Workstation

Monday, October 8, 2007 at 1:55pm by Site Administrator

Whether you’re constantly on the move for your business or just like to get some work done while you’re stuck in rush hour, working in the car can be a dangerous, messy ordeal. Fortunately, there are loads of gadgets out there that can help you turn your car into safer, more functional mobile office. Check out these gadgets that will allow you to work effectively.

  1. Parrot Easydrive Bluetooth Car Kit: Bluetooth is a necessity for the businessperson on the go today, and this car kit from Parrot makes it easy to simply plug and play. It also makes doing business on the road safer, as it keeps your hands free to hold onto the wheel. This system can be used with any car and any Bluetooth-enabled phone. Simply plug the speaker into your car’s cigarette lighter and you’re ready to get to work anywhere.
  2. Sony VGN-TXN15P/B: While laptops by nature are meant to be portable, some are more portable than others. If you’re in the market for a new laptop, consider getting one that won’t be a pain to lug around everywhere with you. The Sony VGN-TXN15P/B fits the bill: at only 3 pounds it’s light enough to carry without giving you a backache, and it won’t take up much room at only 1 inch thick. It may not be versatile enough for the hardcore computer nerd, but for those looking for portability, it can be a great solution. If that’s not your style, try one of these other ultra portable models.
  3. CarGoDesk Mobile Workstation: Stop tossing your work gear into the seat next to you and get organized with a mobile workstation. Simply secure it in the passenger seat next to you with the seatbelt and it provides easy access to all of your business necessities. The non-skid surface on top keeps your laptop from sliding around and side compartments organize all of your files. You can even mount your PDA, GPS and cell phone for easy access. At $149 for the basic model, this solution is one that will do the job without maxing out your credit card.
  4. Fellowes Micro Trac Mouse: For those who can’t stand using the touchpad on their laptop, but don’t have the room for a standard mouse, the Micro Trac Mouse can be a great solution. Users hold the mouse in their hand like a water pistol and move the trac ball with their thumb, eliminating the need for a flat surface. It works well for computing in small spaces.
  5. The Tripp Lite PV600 inverter: Keep your electronics powered while you’re out of the office with the Tripp Lite Inverter. It harnesses the power of your car’s battery to supply power to up to three AC outlets at once. This makes it possible to keep your laptop, cell phone and PDA up and running even if you can’t make it home to plug them in.
  6. TomTom GO 700: Never get lost on your way to a business meeting again with the TomTom Go 700 portable GPS system. Voice directions will guide you from address to address, and if you don’t have a separate Bluetooth system, the TomTom Go will allow you to make hands free calls. With this gadget’s real-time traffic updates, you’ll never get stuck in traffic. Best of all, it’s portable to any car you use.
  7. Logitech IO2 Digital Pen: While typing notes is ideal, it isn’t always practical when you’re on the go. The IO2 Digital Pen allows users to quickly archive their handwritten notes on special digital paper and transfer them to a computer automatically. You can add items to your to-do list or calendar simply by writing them down, and the pen comes with numerous tools to help you organize your notes.
  8. PLANon DocuPen RC800: Recording handwritten notes is fine, but what if you need to scan something on the go? The DocuPen is a fully functional handheld color scanner. It can store up to 100 pages of information in its memory, and it takes only seconds to scan a page. Now you can scan, upload and send documents no matter where you are.
  9. Targus Wifi Scanner: Don’t lose your connection to the Internet just because you’re not in the office. With a wifi scanner, you can find hotspots anywhere you are. Tiny enough to be carried on a keychain, the Targus Wifi Scanner will detect hotspots and tell you their strength before you even turn on your computer.
  10. Kingston Technology DataTraveler Secure: Keep your data safe and secure when you travel with this USB drive from Kingston Technology. In fact, when you’re on the move, this USB drive might even be a more secure place to store your data that your computer, with its data encryption and password protection. This security powerhouse is can take a beating, too. The titanium case can withstand repeated drops and water, keeping your data intact evenif you accidentally drop it into a puddle or your morning coffee.
  11. Otterbox: Your gadgets can take quite a beating with frequent travel, and some of your more delicate electronics may not be able to take it over the long haul. Protect them with Otterbox. You can get protective gear for everything from BlackBerrys to laptops, keeping your gear safe from water or crushing damage.
  12. iGo everywhere130: Keep your laptop and mobile gear charged anywhere with the iGo everywhere130. This power solution allows you to charge and power your electronics from the office, your car, or even an airplane. Best of all, it’s tiny enough to fit in your pocket.
  13. Palm Treo 700w: If you don’t already have a smart phone or a PDA, you should seriously consider investing in one if you’re doing business on the road. The Palm Treo’s Windows operating system allows you to edit Word and Excel documents, view PowerPoint presentations, and check your email when you don’t have the time or space to whip out your laptop.
  14. Canon Pixma IP90: Sometimes you just don’t have time to run by Kinko’s to pick up some printing so bring a printer along with you instead. The Canon Pixma will allow you to print important documents in full-color for yourself or clients on standard 8.5 x 11 paper. The printer also has optional Bluetooth interface allowing you to print wirelessly from your laptop or PDA.
  15. Think Geek Roll-Up Keyboard: If you’ve got an itty bitty laptop, you might want to bring along a full-sized keyboard to make typing extended letters and projects easier and more comfortable. This roll-up version is as portable as it gets. Simply unroll it and plug it in to start typing. When you’re done, stow it away almost anywhere.

Entrepreneurship is all about the personal freedom to leave the office when you want to. But along with that freedom comes an obligation to see essential projects through to the end at unexpected times. The 15 tools identified in this article will help you turn your car into a mobile workstation which will help ensure that even when you aren’t in the office, the essential tasks still get done.

Wi-Fi With No Roaming Charges?

Wednesday, June 27, 2007 at 7:00pm by Site Administrator

So, you’re a nomadic entrepreneur travelling on business somewhere in the world and you need access to the Internet via Wi-Fi for your laptop. But you’re not big on the roaming charges. Well Boingo Wireless has 100,000 Wi-Fi hot spots around the world and for a monthly fee, you can access any of them. No roaming charges, no per-minute fees.

The plans vary based on whether you want access only in North America (unlimited, US$21.95/mth), globally ($39/m), or on a pay as you go basis ($7.95/day). There’s also Boingo Mobile, for your cell phones and PDAs. At the rate of $7.95/m, you get unlimited access in over 60 countries including the US. If you have Wi-Fi VoIP capability on your phone, then you can make calls anywhere there’s a Boingo hotspot.

Now I’m wondering, if a service like this catches on, what happens to municipal Wi-Fi?

An alternate solution, if you just want to make inexpensive VoIP calls, is Skype’s recently announced Skype To Go offering. You do have to be a Skype Pro customer, which means installing Skype on your computer, signing up for an account, and paying for a Pro plan. That gets you a free Skype To Go number. Essentially, you can call people around the world from any phone, at the typical country to country rates for SkypeOut.