How to Avoid the Metroopinion Scam – Tips for Safe Travel

The Metroopinion scam is a classic con trick that works its way back into our lives every few years. It’s more of a cautionary tale than a conventional con. When it happens, it’s usually because someone is trying to dupe someone else, or it’s a case of greed gone wrong.

The scam is simple: The traveler is approached by someone who claims to work for a travel agency or a travel company. They’ll give you an elite rate for a trip to an unfamiliar city, but once you’re there, you’ll find that the rates are much higher than you were told. Once you leave the airport and get into the city, things get even weirder. The people leading you are actually scammers who have tricked other travelers into thinking it’s an elite experience. They take advantage of your ignorance and your desire to go to that new place, not to do business.

The Travel Agency Scam

There are many information technologies and networking companies that have operations around the world. Some of them have trade names like Expedia, Orbitz, or Travelocity.

These companies have large numbers of employees who are spread around the world. You travel to an exotic location, staying at an exotic hotel. The meals are top-notch and delivered to your room. The staff is friendly and the service is excellent. You’re offered free transportation around the city, free admission to attractions, and free guides to show you the city. You’re even given a budget and told what you can expect to pay for various things.

You’re given a complete breakdown of what it’s like to travel in that country and what to expect from your interactions with the locals. Your status is shown as an “elite” traveler, which confuses locals and puts you at a disadvantage.

You’re encouraged to make purchases that aren’t necessary, like souvenirs, drinks at the bar, and snacks. When you can’t afford the items, the staff will cajole you into buying them for you. The travelers on the program are also encouraged to buy unnecessary items from the staff.

The Flight Scam

You travel on a business class or first class airline. The plane is old and worn out. The seats are uncomfortable. The food is bad and overpriced. The service is indifferent. The in-flight entertainment is minimal.

You arrive at your destination and find that it’s a completely different country. The infrastructure is old, the cities are old, the people are old. You’re soon faced with the task of acclimating to your new culture. The food? Horrible. The entire country eats the same food and nothing more than a few miles away from where you live is considered “exotic”.

You learn that the scam is not only going on in the air, it’s also on the ground. The border crossings are terrible. The “elite” organizations that the scammers use to target tourists want to make sure you go through the proper channels, so they can charge you more money.

The Hotel Scam

You’re on vacation and decide to stay at a hotel. You’re given a room with a very old bed and a tired bathroom. You don’t know the hotel has changed hands several times. The breakfast is terrible. The staff is unfriendly. The hotel is a Disneyland-like from the outside, but inside it’s as rundown and tired as the outside. There’s no water pressure in the shower or toilet and the water gets cold very quickly.

You take a look at the program and they meet all the requirements. The employees are friendly. The executives are going to be traveling around the world and they want to make the most of it. There’s a happy hour every day and you can always find a couple of them at the bar.

The Scam

You meet an attractive couple in their 60s, who are traveling alone. They seem genuine, but you’re suspicious. You get their number and they give you the run-down of the experience. The room is small, the bathroom is tiny, and they don’t have a television. Night falls and you’re exhausted. You pick up the phone and call the couple, who tell you the same things you heard from the hotel. You end the conversation feeling like a scammed tourist.

The Conclusion

The best-case scenario is that you get what you paid for and the experience was top-notch. The worst-case scenario is that you were taken advantage of and the scam operation is one big happy family. The good news is that the chances of being a victim of the metroopinion scam are very low. To avoid being scammed, you need to be aware of the signs and know how to spot them. The best way to do that is to get on the ball as soon as you hear about a scam. The sooner you report it, the better.