10 Scams To Avoid When Travelling Abroad
Pickpockets are everywhere you go when you travel, so you’re obviously gonna want to be wary of strangers bumping into — or “accidentally” spilling a Fresca on — you while meandering through a crowded plaza. That’s exactly when the pickpocket’s partner swoops in to snatch your wallet or phone. Also, take note of motorcyclists on Vespas driving irrationally close to the sidewalk as you amble around town; they are looking to cut your bag strap and drive off into the sunset with all your cash.
Make it difficult for pickpockets by keeping your belongings hidden. Guys: put your wallet (and phone!) in your front pocket. Women: keep your closed purse (preferably zipped) in front of you in another bag.
The taxi driver refuses to use the meter or claims it’s broken before charging you eight times the standard fare for a two-block ride back to your hotel; or after turning on the meter, the driver takes you in circles just to keep it running or even takes a pit stop at his home for a bathroom tinkle, lengthening your trip without you noticing that you just passed the same piazza three times but on different side streets.
Study up on taxi rates by checking in with locals, and negotiate your fare BEFORE you get in the cab, so the driver can’t jack up the price when you arrive at your destination. If the car has a meter, make sure they turn it on as soon as you get in. If possible, know the way to your final destination to avoid taking the scenic route. Double check your ride before entering to see if it is trading legally, stickers on the sides of the car will determine this and also some countries have certain coloured number plates like in Thailand their all green.
Shops and fake services
Beware of till workers who appear to be on their phone while helping you, as they may actually be taking a photograph of your credit card details to be replicated later. Others across Europe will count your change at a painfully slow pace, hoping you’ll just get frustrated and ask for the change back swiftly without knowing the wrong amount has been given out.
Official-looking men dressed as policemen in Mexico City, Bogota, Bucharest and Bangkok, were commonly found to check tourists’ wallets, claiming they were looking for fake money that had been circulating in the area. The wallets are then returned with money missing. Fake ticket issuers for different venues were most common in Paris and London.
When travelling you’d think that you should be able to trust the police or security. But every so often on trains and in the street you will come across fake officials who ask to see your documents. To get them back, they ask for a bribe. Don’t hand over your documents if you feel that something is fishy. Instead, ask them to take you to the police station where you will be happy to show your documents.
This scam can be the most unsettling because you should be able to trust the police or security. But often times, you will come across fake officials who ask to see your documents. To get them back, they ask for a bribe. Don’t hand over your documents if you feel that something is fishy. Instead, ask them to take you to the police station where you will be happy to show your documents.
Some common travel scams include; a stranger helping you stow your bag above your seat while his accomplice pickpockets you or slashes your backpack. Another variation of this scam includes a Good Samaritan that was helping you stow you luggage suddenly takes off with your bag and/or hands it off to a runner near the front of the bus. The best way to avoid bus scams is to be extremely wary of overly helpful locals, never let your bags out of your sight, keep your most valuable possessions as close to you as possible and never allow strangers to touch or handle your bags.
Always use ATMs in reputable banks and if the ATM sucks in your card, refusing to give it back, then go into the bank immediately. In Chile, for example, many of the outside bank ATMs would require someone to scan their card to gain entrance into the ATM area and only one person was allowed inside at a time.
ATM skimmers can apply different methods in order to steal your card and relevant banking information. A skimmer is a device that can be attached to the mouth of an ATM and will secretly note down credit and debit card information when customers slip their cards into the machine.
Happy Days, Not
We’ve fallen for this travel scam from time to time. Someone offers you a ride for a price that seems too good to be true. You hop in the taxi or in Asia it is often a tuk tuk, and instead of taking you to your requested destination, your driver takes you all around the city stopping at gem dealers, carpet shops, and tea houses. You end up in the completely opposite direction of where you asked to go and the only way to get back is to appease them and go into all the shops wasting your day. The way to avoid this travel scam is to know the approximate amount of your cab fare before getting in the taxi. And if the price sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
We had the ring scam happen to us in Paris. As you walk along a street, a ring falls on the ground in front of you, and then a woman runs to pick it up asking if it is yours. Honestly, I was tempted to say yes, I wish I did because when you say no, the “kind” passerby offers to sell it to you. When you say you don’t want it, they keep badgering you until you hand over some money. A lot of scams happen around famous tourist sites like Notre Dame and Sacre Coeur, so always be on guard in any city’s popular tourist destinations.
Many times you’ll go to enter a tourist attraction and locals will tell you it’s closed before you have a chance to see for yourself. Don’t fall for this scam. They are going to talk you into another attraction that isn’t as good and that they will get a kick back from. Always look and see for yourself. This is common in South East Asia.
Young women will often approach in places like India with a baby in their hands. Often times, it is just a doll or a young girl given a baby by criminals to prey on the emotions of tourists. Don’t give into this or help the criminal rings. If you want to give money, find a charity to give you instead. Don’t give to kids on the street.