Tourists are perceived in foreign countries as portfolios with legs. Indeed, the locals show incredible ingenuity in order to extort the amount of money maximum from the tourists that they meet on their way.From the taxi ride to the exchange office to the rental car, everything is a pretext to scam! If you do not know before leaving the various scams that you could be a victim, your holidays can quickly turn into hell…
This article shows you the most common scams in major tourist destinations. Note that these scams are present on all continents, in Asia, Europe, America or Oceania! Be alert and learn from your mistakes!
1. Taxi scam
The taxi scam is the most widespread in the world, and especially well-known by globe-trotters. Many of us have already experienced the taxi driver taking a longer route in order to run the meter more and to ask you for an exorbitant price at the end of the race. And this scam is equally prevalent among tuk-tuk drivers, moto taxi and other minibusses.
This scam is very current, here are a few tips that will (hopefully) save you from this scam. Establish a fixed price before boarding the taxi and ask your driver to write the total amount of the race on a piece of paper, to avoid any problems of language. A good alternative to taxis: TVC (Transport Vehicles with Driver). They are becoming more popular, and no risk of getting you robbed! An application on your smartphone (Uber, Grabb, etc.), you order a driver who picks you up where you are. The price is fixed before entering the vehicle and will not change! Moreover, this means of locomotion is generally cheaper than taxis. No scam in sight!
Taxi drivers will try to empty your pockets!
2. False officials scam
It is becoming more and more common to get arrested by police officers who will ask you for your papers stating that they are not valid. Powerless in front of this, you will have no choice but to take out a bank note of your pocket in order to be quiet.
Also in public transport such as trains, metro or tram. A fake controller comes to ask for your ticket and asserts that it is not valid. He then asks you to pay a fine at risk of calling the authorities. Not wanting to spoil the rest of your stay, you run without knowing it’s a scam.
False officials scam widespread especially in South America
These scams are more and more present in the tourist countries. Be careful not to get caught by these false officials. Do not hesitate to ask other locals if the request made by these false police officers or false controllers is justified!
3. Closed attractions scam
You plan to visit an unmissable tourist spot of the country. A local comes to you in order to ask you what you are looking for and it informs you that this attraction is closed! What misfortune…Fortunately, these local offers to bring you to another attraction just as well to see better (according to him). Well, know that all of this is a scam.
Indeed, many locals try to divert you from your schedule in order to extort you a bit of money by way of a ride, or an entry for another attraction.Do not be fooled! The best advice we can give you is to check the day before if your visit planned for the next day is open, but also to inquire about opening hours. An avoided scam!
Gently refuse the advances and proposals of the locals
4. The ATM scam
If you are traveling to a foreign country, you should know that in the case of withdrawal from a distributor, you will have to pay fees or other taxes.
The following scam also comes from a local who will seek to steal your bank information. He will tell you that he knows a trick to avoid having to pay the withdrawal fee. Wishing to make the maximum savings during your trip, you will give it your confidence except that its objective will be to take a picture of your credit card. Once the photo is taken on your back, it can be used as he wants on your bank account.
Be very vigilant about your means of payment, do not entrust them to any stranger and trust no one else but yourself!
About credit cards, trust only yourself!
5. Free stuff scam
If there is one thing to remember when traveling, it is that nothing is free and everything has a price! A common scam in all tourist destinations is to “offer” you something. “Offering” indeed, because once the bracelet or cake in hand, the seller will ask you to pay the good.
Nothing is free, all have a price!
Street vendors are the specialists for this scam: the seller will ask you to give him your hand. Unconsciously, you stretch your wrist to him and it is then that he puts on a bracelet, clamp it and asks you to pay it. Or a lady holds you a cake and says that it’s free. You could be tempted by a tasting except that once the cake swallowed, the lady asks you to pay for this cake or to buy others. Another scam to avoid! Never accept something free, all have a price!
6. Vehicle rental scam
If you plan to rent a car or a scooter to get around, take pictures of every corner of your vehicle.Indeed, the vehicle rental scam is to make you pay for damage you did not cause! As your passport is a surety, you will have to give a good sum of money, hoping to get your valuable passport back.
Remember to take photo every detail of your vehicle
To avoid this scam, do not hesitate to take a few minutes to photograph every detail of your vehicle. Car body, pneumatics, headlights, claws, everything is a pretext to steal your money!
7. Pickpockets scam
Pickpockets are present in all major tourist destinations. You need to pay attention to your concern and your most valuable assets.
Be alert to certain situations that will make you more vulnerable. If you go into a crowded tourist attraction, pickpockets are often present in the crowd to serve in the tourists’ pockets.
Be careful with pickpocket!
Also during a street show, a magician draws your attention to something while the pickpockets steal your belongings. To avoid this scam, store your belongings in secure locations, such as closed pockets or a backpack.
8. Exchange of local currency scam
The last scam that we want to unveil is the local currency.You arrive at a new destination and you do not have any local currency to pay you a meal, a hotel room or a taxi. It is imperative that you find a currency exchange office in order to obtain the local currency. But be very careful about these exchange offices! Most of the time, they propose an interesting exchange rate while applying a huge commission (not mentioned of course). Take the time to ask for all the necessary information and to make all possible calculations to be sure that you are not the victim of a scam.
The exchange rate can make you lose a lot of money.
Another tip: Avoid the exchange offices in the airports. The exchange rate is much less attractive than in other offices in the city.
Tourist scams are numerous and varied. This article represents only a sample of the most common scams knowing in major tourist destinations. It is up to you to be careful and take the necessary precautions to avoid spoiling your holiday.
The last advice we could give you: be attentive to everything! Do not present yourself as a potential target, camouflage any valuable personal effects that might attract attention to you, act as a local and not as a tourist, and most importantly do not be fooled!