A frequent traveler shared his story of visiting Istanbul and being scammed into excessive credit card charges of over 14k CAD (10k USD) by the let's have a drink scam. He now needs to request a chargeback and is seeking advice on the process. People were eager to share their opinions in the comments section.
The Let's Have a Drink Scam
The original poster (OP) begins by saying that he visited Istanbul on February 3rd and, early morning on February 4th he fell victim to the “let's have a drink” scam.
The OP says he became extremely intoxicated and was charged over $14k CAD in four transactions on two credit cards. The charges were made in Turkish Lira, and he did not understand the billing, as everything was in Turkish.
The OP was repeatedly told the credit card machine wasn't working, causing him to continue trying to pay. The traveler now needs to contact their credit card companies and request a chargeback.
He is seeking advice and information on whether anyone has successfully gotten their money back after a similar scam.
Travelers Shared Their Opinion
One user said, “If it's a reputable credit card company, you should easily win a chargeback. Their department will take one look at the 14k, see it's in Turkey and at a bar, and should grant you the chargeback….”
Another user said, “The same thing happened to me in Istanbul, but it wasn't nearly 14k, maybe a few hundred $$$. But the thing is, the moment I got into the bar, I knew instantly it was a scam. I never drank anything, and I immediately excused myself to leave, but the bouncer pinned me against the wall, asking me to pay. The manager/crook asked me where I was from, and I mentioned a poor developing country, and he let me go. To put it into context, I'm Asian-Canadian, living and working in London (UK) at the time. If I had told him I lived in London or from Canada, they would have forced me to pay just for stepping into the bar. I guess that's one of the very few advantages of being a person of color. Funny thing is, some other guy tried to scam me using the same trick the night before, but I turned him down. Not sure why I let my guard down after that.”
Avoid In Instanbul
Another user said, “I nearly was taken by this scam in Istanbul as well. My friend and I were walking down Istiklal, and a man asked me for a light. I didn't have one, but he struck up a conversation, was very friendly, and then invited us to have drinks. We politely refused, mostly because it was our first night, and we were very tired and just headed back to our Airbnb. After he realized we weren't going to bite, his friendly attitude swiftly changed, and he left us. Guess he was upset that he wasted his time with us.”
Has This Happened To You?
Have you or someone you know fallen victim to a similar scam while traveling? What advice would you give to someone in this situation to recover their funds? How can travelers protect themselves from scams like this in the future?