Philadelphia TV meteorologist John Bolaris had an annual ritual after a long winter forecasting ice and snow: a trip to sunny Miami Beach to relax and recharge, but his 2010 trip would cost far more than airfare, hotel and incidentals.
Bolaris would be stripped of tens of thousands of dollars — and quite possibly his entire career — after falling victim to a surprisingly common scam that targets a man's ego and his wallet.
"They exceeded the greed limit, whatever there is on a greed limit, you know," Bolaris told CNBC's "American Greed."
The scam, detailed in this week's episode of "American Greed," employs beautiful and exotic "bar girls," also known as "B-girls," to con unsuspecting male travelers into signing for thousands of dollars in credit-card charges by getting them drunk or drugging them.
As a high-profile TV personality with stints in Philadelphia and New York, Bolaris was tabloid fodder for months. The scam eventually cost him his job, and he believes it left him banned from the industry.
Lost in all the hype was the fact that this crime is hardly limited to TV stars. Thousands of regular guys every year get stung by B-girls, and most victims are either too embarrassed or don't have the wherewithal to do anything but pay the massive credit-card bills.
The scam is one of several traveler traps in vogue these days. The U.S. State Department Bureau of Consular Affairs website — which is a smart place to visit anytime you are traveling abroad for business or leisure — allows you to search country by country for tips on guarding yourself during your visit. Click on the "safety and security" link in your destination's profile. Here are some of the top scams we found, most of which are also risks if you are traveling within the U.S.