General Safety Travel Tips

Top 51 Travel Scams and How to Avoid Them

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So, what’s a travel scam?

Well, some cases and online sources refer to travel scams as to those fake discounts that you might receive for a trip – in short, for one of your possible travels. However, today we’ll be talking about the more serious travel scams.

Namely, about the scams you might experience as a tourist in a foreign country or city – in short, we’ll be taking a look at the most common travel scams around the globe and at the ways through which you can avoid them.

Therefore, without any further ado, let’s look at the top 51 travel scams around the world and at how to keep yourself safe from them.

  1. The Broken Taxi Meter

Most Popular Travel ScamsThis one is pretty straightforward – after you land or get out of your train and get into a cab, the driver will inform you that the meter is broken. Naturally, most of the times he or she will tell you that they know all the routes in town and how much they have to tax you as well.

Of course, they are usually lying – this results in a quite expensive taxi ride.

  • How to avoid this scam?

If you face a broken taxi meter, our travel scams guide recommends you negotiate over the ride’s price and make sure that is it at least close to the expected real price. Don’t do this after the ride has started, as the driver will still tax you a lot of money, no matter the distance.

If the driver puts up too high rates or refuses to turn on the mater, then just get out of the vehicle and look for another taxi – as easy as that.

  1. The Fake Officials

Next, on our top travel scams, we have people – as in scammers – that pose as officials asking you to identify yourself. In short, they will ask for your documents, presumably to check if they are in order.

However, as soon as your papers are in their hands, they’ll ask money for their safe return. Of course, these people are not officials at all – just individuals who try to make money by using some of the most important documents you have with you while traveling, namely the passport or the ID.

  • How to avoid this scam?

This one ranks very high on the top travel scams in Asia list – but it is also one scam that can be easily avoided. If you know that you’ve done nothing wrong and that your papers are in order, simply don’t hand them to the fake officials.

Just ask to be taken to the police station, saying that you will present your identification documents once you are there. If they are fake officials, doing so will surely put them off guard – you can also ask for help from the nearby people if they seem to be pressing.

  1. Transportation – Wrong Class

This is yet another popular travel scam in Asia, where the transportation systems are a little bit more difficult to understand. Basically, you’ll have fake officials around you again – this time, they will demand your ticket and then tell you that you are in the wrong class and that you have to pay the upgrade fee.

When it comes to avoiding travel scams like this one, knowledge is power.

  • How to avoid this scam?

This scam comes with one solid advice – first of all, do your research. Before using the transportation system of a foreign country, know well how it works beforehand. Moreover, get information on the upgrade fee costs and first-class tickets, for example, as well.

Sometimes you may get your class wrong and have to pay the upgrade fee – but even then, you can point out the scammers if they ask for another amount than the legal one.

  1. The Shove and Grab Method

In terms of popular travel scams in 2018, this one is clearly among the first – namely, the shove or bump and grab/ steal scam. As the name suggests, one or more individuals will bump into you, seemingly accidentally, after which they, or their felon friends, will proceed to steal from your bag or purse.

This is a very successful type of scam, as the victim doesn’t usually feel that someone has their hands inside their pockets – mainly because of the bump part, that usually happens at the same time with the grab/ steal part.

  • How to avoid this scam?

When it comes to how to avoid travel scams like this one, you really have to think ahead – namely, remember to have your bag/ purse placed correctly while in public transport, the place where this scam mostly takes place.

Moreover, make sure that your valuables are not in the same place – the thief must not be able to leave you without anything of value just through one simple grab and run. In terms of placement – make sure that anything containing any of your valuables in under your sight, as in front of you; not in the back pockets or in your backpack.

  1. Unavailable Rooms or Closed Hotel

This is yet another scam that usually comes from taxi drivers and it is one of the most common travel scams in Asia as well. Basically, after you get in a cab and tell the driver your destination – and after he/ she will start driving – they’ll tell you that the hotel you want to go to is closed or unavailable.

Naturally, they do have a solution to this problem – they know another hotel, which, as they might say, is very good and worth your money. In reality, they have a deal with the hotel’s management and they receive a commission for the tourists they bring in.

  • How to avoid this scam?

Obviously, the hotel you had planned to stay in may actually be available and open – therefore, don’t trust their words until you’ve seen them with your own eyes. Moreover, if you do agree with their hotel choice, keep in mind that the chances that that accommodation is quite expensive are very high.

When it comes to avoiding this, just ignore the drivers and tell them to take you to the hotel anyway – tell them that you have a reservation, even if you don’t, and that you want to stay there.

You could also call the hotel in advance and make sure everything is ok and maybe ask if they have shuttle services available as well.

  1. Foreigners That Need Your Help

One of the common travel scams in South America happens when a foreigner simply sparks up a conversation with you and then asks for your help. First, he or she will ask you questions in order to get information that they might use to persuade you to help them.

They’ll ask where you are from and things like that – when they have enough, info, they’ll come up with a story and persuade you to come and visit their shop, boutique, or such. For example, they might state that they have a relative or a friend living in the same city as you and they want to send them a letter.

As soon as you reach the location, they’ll offer you tea, maybe even lunch or such, while you help them with writing their letter. During this time, you will probably notice them increasingly try to make you purchase something.

  • How to avoid this scam?

This psychological scam relies on the good hearts of the people – in short, after the stranger has offered you a drink, or even food, you might feel compelled to buy something from their shop/ stall, even if you don’t want to.

In order to avoid such a scam, just don’t believe what every foreigner tells you – moreover, don’t agree to go to another location. Don’t go out of your way to help locals as it is not your job, even if they seem to be needing help.

  1. Bus Luggage Help

How to Avoid Travel scamsLet’s say that you have a heavy luggage or more than just a bag – in this case, there might be locals offering to help you get your luggage on or off the bus. In both cases, the results might be quite unfortunate.

For example, while someone helps you get your luggage on the bus, their friend might be pickpocketing you or stealing from your backpack. Then, when getting off the busy, someone might motion you that they’ll get that bag off for you, just so that they can wander in the distance as soon as they have full control over it.

  • How to avoid this scam?

First of all, you should have just as many bags as you can handle – while in a foreign country, you shouldn’t rely on anyone else for help, unless you are accompanied by a friend.

This being said, in order to avoid this scam, all you have to do is keep your bags/ luggage in sight and don’t let anyone handle them for you, even if they insist. And, as always, our travel scams guide recommends you to not have any bags/ backpacks on your back while in public – we all know what this can lead to.

  1. The “I’ll be your guide for the day”

This type of scam comes with many variations and it is one of the common travel scams in Europe. Basically, as soon as a local sees that you are a tourist, he or she will try to take advantage of you.

They will either try to befriend you or tell you that they want to improve their English, or even offer their services as a guide. You’ll probably end up paying their lunch, refreshments and what not – as a reward for them accompanying you. They might even persuade you to buy something for them – accessories, souvenirs or such.

  • How to avoid this scam?

In short, don’t believe anything that the foreigners/ locals tell you – they have no business with you and you should not believe those that claim to want to have any business with you.

Keep in mind that no one befriends a stranger, and a foreigner on top of that, just like that, out of the blue – always think that they might have a hidden purpose.

  1. Cruising Through the City

One of the most popular travel scams around the world is the long cruise in a taxi – as soon as you get in and the driver notices that you are a tourist, he or she will take the longest possible route to your destination.

You don’t know the city, the streets, or the points of interest – and the driver knows that too well. In the end, you’ll be faced with an unbelievable meter reading, namely, a large sum that you have to pay for your ride.

  • How to avoid this scam?

When it comes to avoiding travel scams, you must first plan your travels – make use of your smartphone and of the power of offline maps and the GPS to see the roads the driver is actually taking you on and prompt him/ her when they make a wrong turn.

There’s not too much to be said about this scam – a map should be your closest friend if you don’t want the taxi driver to go round and round your final destination for an hour or so just to fill up the meter.

  1. Money Exchange Bandits

You might stumble across one of the common travel scams in Africa if you happen to reach the Tanzania region and need to change some money. In between borders, you will find these shady people that offer you their exchange services, sometimes at incredibly good rates.

If you come across a bad guy, he will first give you the currency you want, making it sure that you believe everything to be in order, and then ask you to pay for the said currency. And so you do – the trick is that they will claim that your currency, as in bills, is fake and will hand it back to you.

You hand back their currency as well, having nothing else to do, and move on with your business – of course, when you’ll think to count the money he gave you back, you’ll find that around half of the initial sum is forever gone.

  • How to avoid this scam?

Never underestimate how quick their hands can be – as a matter of fact, you should never have to see and interact with such individuals. Therefore, make sure that you have all the currency you need available long before you need it.

Make all your currency exchanges in a town, in a legit place – of course, the border is, most of the times, not the right place to do so.

  1. Free Accessories

When it comes to travel scams in Europe, you will surely come across people that will put random and free accessories on you – be it rosemary or friendship bracelets. Of course, they will initially claim that the accessory is free and just for you, the inexperienced tourist.

Naturally, it won’t be long until they’ll ask you to pay for that certain thing – and if you refuse, be ready to witness a scene and become the center of attention.

  • How to avoid this scam?

When traveling abroad, remember that nothing is free – unless it comes from one of your relatives or loved ones, everything has a price that has to be paid, sooner or later.

These being said, don’t accept any gifts, free accessories, or such, as no merchant would willingly give away their items. If you do like the bracelet or the rosemary they put on you, then get ready to pay for it, always!

  1. The Accidental Spill

In short, someone might just accidentally spill something on you – how unfortunate! They’ll ask for your forgiveness, they’ll say sorry and apologize a thousand times – all this while they pull out a napkin and try to clean you.

Of course, cleaning you is not everything they are trying to do – being so close to you, they’ll also try, and most of the times succeed, to pickpocket you, leaving you without your wallet and whatnot.

  • How to avoid this scam?

As mentioned before, don’t accept help from any strangers, even if you face a problem that’s been caused by them. Just brush them off and deal with the substance they’ve spilled on you by yourself.

After all, how good can they really clean you after spilling something on you? You’d rather take off and get on your way to the hotel instead of being both dirty and pickpocketed.

  1. Counterfeit Currency

This type of scam mostly happens in restaurants, bars, pubs, and similar locations. At the end of your meal or once you’ve finished your drink and it’s time for you to pay, the waiter will tell you that the bill you used is fake and also demand another method of payment.

Of course, this is not the only problem – the issue is that the bill they’ll be handing back to you might actually be fake. After paying, they’ll take the currency and swap it with counterfeit one, and they will do so until they are either bored or you are out of bills.

  • How to avoid this scam?

Traveling requires a lot of planning and gathering of information – in this respect, you should always get acquainted with the currency of the country you are planning to visit. Moreover, when paying your bill, you should always have just enough change to do so, thus avoiding using high-value bills, and pay close attention to the one that’s handling your money.

  1. The Old Switch

Among the most popular travel scams around the world is the old switch – for example, let’s say that you’ve just bought a nice souvenir from a seemingly reputed shop. The clerk will then pack it, hand it to you, and then you’ll leave the store.

As you get out of the store, you feel the need to check that beautiful item once again – we all feel that, it’s natural -, only to see that it is not the item you bought and that it is, usually, something way cheaper than the original item.

  • How to avoid this scam?

Well, this one’s simple – just check the merchandise as soon as the clerk hands the bag over to you. There’s no shame in doing that – after all, you have to get what you paid for.

Make sure to check that you have the item you bought in the bag while the clerk is present so that they can’t claim that that’s the item you actually bought. There’s nothing bad in double-checking!

  1. Random Invitations to Have a Drink

Both men and women can be targeted by this one, which is yet another one of the most common travel scams in Europe. In short, you’ll be approached by either college girls or boys and they’ll invite you to have a drink.

Naturally, they’ll choose the bar and the drink will usually come with ridiculous prices – sometimes even 10 to 20 times more than the normal price. Of course, this is yet another creative way students have come up with to pay for their college – as they probably have some kind of affiliation with the bartenders and get a big part of the bill back.

  • How to avoid this scam?

Obviously, it might be hard to refuse college girls, especially when they invite you over for a drink – you know you probably shouldn’t agree, but you still do. If you do agree, you could at least make sure that they don’t choose the bar/ pub and that you do so.

Just have a stroll around the city, talk a bit with them, and when you think the time is right, get in the first bar you see and have your drinks there.

  1. Certain Attraction is Closed

Of course, as a traveler, you might have a hard time finding the attractions you want to see – and, therefore, you ask the locals for directions. If you do so, you have to be extremely careful, as there might be people telling you that the place you are looking for is closed for the day.

And this is not everything – they will also guide you to another location, which they claim to be on par with the one you wanted to visit. Obviously, they’ll guide you to shops, stores, and such that are owned by their friends or their family.

Moreover, if you ask more people and eventually get directed towards your initial target, you’ll find out that it is not closed at all.

  • How to avoid this scam?

First of all, the liar will, most of the times, approach you speaking perfect English – and this should be the first sign of alarm for you. A local English speaker in a foreign country will most likely try to sell or advertise something to you.

Also, you have to always make sure that the attraction you want to see is closed or open – of course, you do so by visiting it and seeing the facts with your own eyes. Furthermore, instead of believing the first person you ask, you can also ask multiple locals the same question and compare the answers.

  1. Damaged Items – Motorbike, Bike

Most of the times, you’ll want to explore the city by yourself and, to do so, you’ll rent a motorbike or a bike so that your traveling gets much easier. It will be in your possession for the day or for the duration of your stay – and, of course, you’ll treat the item accordingly.

However, when you take it back to the rental shop, the owner will tell you that the item is damaged and that you have to pay extra or to fully repair the motorbike/ bike – of course, the payment will be an expensive one.

  • How to avoid this scam?

As we are all equipped with a smartphone that has a camera we might as well make good use of it – namely, take pictures of the motorbike/ bike before you take it out for a ride. As you go around and photograph it, make sure that the owner is with you or sees you so that he/ she knows exactly what you are preparing for.

Moreover, it is recommended that you keep the vehicle out of sight and off the main streets, as well as using your own lock when securing it – there have been cases when owner sent their underlings to damage or even steal the bike/ motorbike.

  1. Common ATM Scams

ATM Scams TouristsAmong the most common travel scams, we have those that involve the use of the ATM and of your credit card. Always remember that you can lose everything you have on your card while using an ATM in a foreign country.

Your credit card can get stuck inside the ATM or there might be a skimmer planted on the mouth of the machine – the latter will read all of the data that comes with your card, including your PIN, and the people behind it will later use that data in order to get every single penny they can out of your card.

  • How to avoid this scam?

It’s easy – just stay in line, within the bank, and withdraw money from there. We know that the ATM is much faster and maybe even easier, but wouldn’t you want more a safe transaction rather than the loss of your credit card or of the data that comes with it?

Still, if you have to rely on an ATM, make sure that it is well-protected and that it looks safe enough for you to use. If your card gets stuck inside the machine, don’t waste any time and get inside the bank to report what has happened as soon as possible.

  1. The ATM Helper

Sticking to the ATM matter, we have a scam that implies people interacting with you – also, it is a scam that most people are not aware of and might fall for it easily.

For example, there might be someone behind you in line that will claim to know how to avoid the local bank fees – of course, as long as you let him come closer to the ATM and to your credit card.

While they guide you through your transactions, they’ll use the skimmer they have in their pocket to scan your credit card – naturally, they’ll also take a look at your PIN code and will later use the two types of information in order to drain your account.

  • How to avoid this scam?

Well, the answer to this one is quite short – just don’t let anybody get close to you while you are using the ATM/ credit card. Moreover, make sure that you always cover the numeric keypad while entering the PIN code.

Also, if someone seems to get closer and closer to you, just cancel the transaction and walk away as soon as you can – basically, everything you’d normally do if you were back in your hometown.

  1. The Golden Ring

When it comes to travel scams in Europe, the precious ring will most likely come up on your radar. Basically, a stranger will prompt you that you’ve dropped your ring on the ground – even though you might even not wear any rings.

After you say that you didn’t and that the ring is not yours, the stranger will show you a proof mark that proves that the ring is made of pure gold – of course, it isn’t. Why? Just because they’ll offer to sell it to you, and for a pretty good price as well.

Obviously, the rink is not out of gold and the stranger is just trying to take advantage of you.

  • How to avoid this scam?

Of course, you might be compelled to buy a ring that’s made of pure gold – but remember that if something seems too good to be true, then it actually is. Just ignore the person that’s trying to sell the ring to you and walk away. You don’t travel for bargains, you travel to discover and see new places!

  1. The Prepaid Taxis

One of the common travel scams in Asia, especially in India, is related to prepaid taxis. In some countries, you have the possibility to pay for your ride at a prepaid booth, and then jump in a taxi that will take you there.

However, most of the times, the drivers will tell you that the prepaid booth is closed or out of service and that you should just jump in their taxi as there’s nothing that can go wrong.

Obviously, that’s a lie – if you don’t spend some extra time looking for a prepaid taxi booth, you risk being taken to the wrong destination or charged more than you would have been.

  • How to avoid this scam?

Before listening to a taxi driver, make sure you have scouted the area for a prepaid taxi booth – moreover, you can also ask some people around you where you can find such a booth. Better safe than sorry, right?

  1. Beggars

In countries where tourism is highly developed, beggars are not just simple homeless people anymore. Usually, you are approached by child beggars, or even injured ones, that have a helper with them, for example, and ask for money.

Of course, they might not be injured and the babies/ children some women have might not even be theirs. However, this is not everything that comes with this scam – in some places, there will be another person that’s watching you from afar, waiting for you to give the beggar some money and have insight on where you keep your wallet.

Then they will follow and try to pickpocket you.

  • How to avoid this scam?

Since it’s impossible to tell which beggar is actually injured or not or which one is in need or not, our travel scams guide recommends you to never give money to beggars or homeless people.

Just ignore them and walk away – making sure that you do not pat your wallet with the intention of giving them money.

  1. Fake Petitions/ Charities

Charity is a noble purpose – but the people using it to make some money are everything but noble. You might be approached by people that want you to sign a petition or by people that collect donations for a certain charity.

For example, the petition holder and the donation collector might be working together – namely, the petition holder will tell the latter which people are prone to stopping and listening to their story and, eventually, donating to a good cause.

  • How to avoid this scam?

As with any other top travel scams on our list, the best thing you can do in such situations is to ignore the people around you – or the one that’s bothering you – and simply walk away.

You don’t even have to stop and say no to them; just keep on walking and stay away from anything that might mean trouble.

  1. The Old Group Photo Trick

Of course, who wouldn’t want a group photo of them and their friends while they are far away, in a beautiful foreign country? Moreover, you want every single one of them to appear in the photo, right?

So, what do you do in such a situation? Well, you will most probably stop and ask for a stranger to take your group photo. Some strangers might have no ill intentions – but some might stick around tourist populated areas and come rescue the people in need of a group photo.

The result is obvious – they will run away, with your camera, and with all of the photos you’ve taken so far.

  • How to avoid this scam?

First of all, make sure that you are asking someone to take a photo of you and your friends – anyone that jumps in the frame at the perfect moment might not be the person you are looking for.

Furthermore, you can almost always count on other tourists when taking group photos – they take a photo of you and you’ll take a photo of them.

  1. Drug Deals

This is one of the more serious travel scams one may experience. Let’s say that you want to have some fun and want to buy something special – however, most of the times the drug dealers will be the ones to approach you asking if you want to buy anything.

There are two risks you are taking here – first of all, a real cop might be around and approach you just as you get your hands on the forbidden substances. Then, most common, a fake cop – hand in hand with the drug dealer – will approach you and demand a bribe so that he can let you go.

You might end up in jail or with a very big hole in your pockets – or, you can avoid this scam.

  • How to avoid this scam?

Don’t buy drugs in a foreign country – pretty much straightforward. Even if you’re looking for recreational drugs, you should refrain on doing so at home, in your country. The drug-related laws are diverse abroad – and you might get in trouble easier than you expect.

  1. The Crowd

Naturally, while traveling, you will be faced with some nasty crowds of tourists and not only. In this case, you have to keep in mind the fact that groups of people in those crowds might not be interested in the touristic attraction you are close by.

They just want your valuables! It might seem normal to you that people are bumping into each other and pushing their way through – however, if things get too tense, it might be just the time for you to check your backpack and your wallet.

  • How to avoid this scam?

It’s true – avoiding a crowd as a tourist is quite hard. Therefore, when you know that you’ll be faced with a lot of people, be sure to take with you only the items you really need.

Moreover, keep everything you have on you in sight, in front of you – anyone that tries to take something away from you should be able to look you straight in the eye before doing so.

  1. The Fake WiFi Hubs

It was about time we talked about a more advanced scam, right? If you want to know how to avoid travel scams, you should begin with avoiding WiFi connections. Namely, those that are open and at your disposal.

Keep in mind that, when you are connected to a WiFi, its owner has available almost all of your phone’s details – and, with a little bit of hacking, the owner can also access the data you have on your phone, including PINs, passwords, accounts, and many more.

  • How to avoid this scam?

Well, don’t be shy! If you are in a hotel, pub, bar, restaurant, or such, ask the waiter which of the available WiFi connections is the official one – they will provide you with its password and you’ll be safely connected to it.

Of course, never go for the unsecured, unprotected, and unlocked connection – especially if you are abroad. Moreover, you can always rely on a VPN to increase your connection’s security.

  1. Wrong Change

After you buy something, and you pay with a high-value bill, you expect change – obviously. If you receive change that comes with all of the bills/ coins of the same type/ color, you expect everything to be ok, right?

Well, it’s not actually right. Remember that you don’t know the foreign currency as well as you should – therefore when leaving the store and counting the change, you might be welcomed by bills/ coins that are 2 times or less the value of the change you should have got.

  • How to avoid this scam?

First of all, you should get informed pretty well on the currency of the country you are visiting – basically, associate the bill’s color to its value. Then, always count your change carefully before leaving the store – if you come back later, no one will remember that you’ve ever been there.

  1. Street Games

When it comes to travel scams, you should really stay away from any street games, as they are clearly nothing but scams – even though the big prize is the newest smartphone on the market.

The classic street games come with the three cups and a ball and you have to guess where the ball is hidden – then we have the card games and many more types that are meant to just leave you without money.

  • How to avoid scams like this?

Well, it’s not enough to tell you to stay away from these street games, as they can be quite appealing. However, if you keep on losing – let’s say, for three times in a row after you’ve won for two or three times in a row -, it’s safe to say that you are getting scammed.

Those that engage in such scams will first give you the impression that the game is legit, letting you win a couple of times – after which you’ll be facing only loss, both of enjoyment and of cash.

  1. Fake Tickets

Let’s say that you are in a hurry – you might be missing your bus, train, or even airplane – and, with some luck, you find a stranger that sells just the tickets you need. Moreover, he/ she offers them at a discount as well. You must be really lucky, right?

Well, no, you are not – if you try to claim those tickets, they will most likely be denied and you’ll be left stranded and with little to no cash in your pockets.

  • How to avoid this scam?

Avoiding fake tickets is very easy – always buy them from the official website of the company of from the official ticket office. You could buy a cheap bus ticket from a stranger but never rely on a couple hundred dollars plane ticket bought from a local to be actually real.

  1. Border Thieves – Vietnam to Cambodia

While this scam is common mostly on the Vietnam-Cambodia border, there are chances that it might happen anywhere in the world. Basically, when crossing the border, one of the locals will ask for your passport and for a five-dollar fee so that you pass the border quicker.

He/ she will ask this from anyone that’s on the bus – this scam relies on the fact that everyone will fall for it and will pay the extra fee. Why? Because the local will also mention the fact that, if you don’t pay the fee, then the bus will leave even if only a majority of the tourists are in it.

  • How to avoid this scam?

If there are multiple groups of tourists in your bus, make sure that everyone knows of this scam – if there are little to no people that pay the five-dollar fee, then the bus will be forced to wait for everybody to get in before leaving.

  1. Expensive Luxury Items Deals

While visiting a foreign country, it is very likely that you’ll be approached by someone with vision, with a talent for business – namely, a shop owner, specializing in either gemstones or carpets, for example, that will offer you some of his items at a discounted price so that you can sell them back in your country for a bigger sum.

The products might seem high-quality and everything, but if there’s a discount related to them, it is most likely that they are fake and perhaps even worthless.

  • How to avoid this scam?

Don’t take deals for granted! Make sure that you know the traits of an expensive luxury item before buying it and – most important – do not buy them in bulk, as they might not be what you think they are.

  1. Transportation Harassment

There are some people that, when you get out of the airport, hotel, or bar, will try to persuade you to get in their taxi, up to the point they actually start harassing you. They’ll stick to you and promise everything – from a smooth ride up to decent prices -, only if you get in one of the cars that they have available.

Of course, the driver that will come and pick you up will have no idea of the promises that have been made to you and will also overcharge you – naturally, the extra charges will be mentioned only at the end of your ride.

  • How to avoid this scam?

Make sure that you are not in a situation when you have to rely on taxis and taxi drivers – namely, book your transportation in advance or go to a nearby transportation counter and look for recognizable, reputed brands.

  1. Fake Wake-Up Call

While dreaming of the next day in the hotel you checked-in just one day ago, you get a call from the front desk. You answer the hotel’s phone and the management says that they want to confirm your credit card details or other information.

Isn’t it a bit odd that they’re calling in the middle of the night? Well, of course, it is – because it’s not the front desk, but just another scammer that’s trying to get the information he/ she needs in order to drain your account.

  • How to avoid this scam?

Basically, if the front desk calls, then you should put them on hold while you get out of the bed and go to the front desk in person – as easy as that.

You might be confused when you wake up suddenly, but this doesn’t mean that you should give out your credit card details over the phone.

  1. The Lost Currency

As you’ve noticed so far, plenty travel scams imply the use of currency – in this case, we refer to a currency that is continuously losing its value. For example, the Turkish Lira is not doing so good – therefore, the local stall owners might try to charge you Euros instead of their official currency.

Every time you accept such a trade, you lose money, as the Turkish Lira, and not only, is constantly losing value against the Euro.

  • How to avoid such a scam?

Always pay using the local currency – you can never be too sure of the exchange rates or of the local currency’s status when compared to the Euro or Dollar.

  1. The Manipulation Strategy

This kind of travel scams come in an interesting form – the most common one is when a person drops change or documents, or anything else, near a tourist while he/ she is enjoying a drink in a pub or such.

While the kind tourist bends over, picks up the items, and rushes to return them to their owner, another person gets near their belongings – bags, smartphone, and whatnot – and simply runs away with them.

  • How to avoid this scam?

You always have to think one step ahead of the thieves – instead of collecting the items yourself and rushing to the stranger, just call for them to turn back, while keeping an eye on your surroundings.

After all, your luggage – money, wallet, smartphone – is more important than something someone has carelessly dropped on the ground.

  1. Inflated Tour Prices

This can happen almost anywhere in the world – even when looking for travel scams in Australia or South America. Basically, there are city tours available for tourists, that claim to show them everything they have to see in a certain city.

What the tourists don’t know is that if they bought the tickets for each of the tour’s rides individually, they’ll be able to see the city for a lot less money.

  • How to avoid this scam?

If you want to take a city tour, we recommend that you plan it by yourself, checking for prices online and comparing them to the actual price of the tour – most of the times, even reputed transport companies rely on inflating the prices a little so that they get more profit.

However, be it a company or an individual scammer, something like this can still be identified as a scam.

  1. The Intentional Slowpoke

This next scam is why you should be really careful when buying something. There have been enough cases in which clerks – those that know there’s a tourist in front of them – count your change really, really slow.

Why? They expect you to be in a rush or get tired by how slow they are and just take the change and rush outside of the building – only to later discover that you were handed the wrong change.

  • How to avoid this type of scam?

Be patient – the world is still going to be here tomorrow. Moreover, your money are your most important asset when traveling – therefore, you have to make sure that you don’t lose any.

  1. Swift Clerks

Some of the clerks you meet may be talking on the phone – even when you hand them your credit card so that you can pay for your purchase.

However, you may want to rely on cash from now on, especially near clerks armed with smartphones – as you hand them your credit card, they’ll pretend to terminate the call when, in fact, they take a photo of your credit card’s most valuable information.

  • How to avoid this scam?

If you don’t want to see extra payments done with your credit card, we recommend that you use only cash when paying, especially in boutiques, stores, and stalls.

  1. Room Inspection

While staying in a hotel, there’s the chance that you get greeted by people claiming that they have to inspect your room – in order to see that everything is fine, that there is no damage done to the furniture, and so on.

While one of them goes around the room, bathroom, etc., you’ll obviously have to follow him and make sure that everything is okay. Meanwhile, the other individual, who is waiting at the door, will grab anything of value that he/ she can see, usually items left on the room’s dresser.

  • How to avoid this scam?

If room inspectors come knocking at your door, don’t let them in until you call the front desk and make a manager come to your room and check the inspectors’ identities.

  1. Broken Items

We’ve talked about you wanting to have a group photo taken – but what if a stranger wants you to take a photo of him/ her and then, as you give them their camera/ smartphone back, they claim that you broke it or accidentally drop it while the item is still in your hands?

Well, they’ll demand you to pay for the damage – some might even try to steal your wallet while you bend over to pick the damaged item.

  • How to avoid this scam?

Even though you might rely on other people to take photos of you, it is better if you don’t touch any valuables of the strangers – just as in the case of the motorbike/ bike rental service scam, the owner of the item might claim that you broke his precious smartphone, for example.

  1. The Stripper – Eye-Catching Street Show

This scam applies mostly to men and usually involves a stripper or an interesting street show, so to say, that simply kidnaps their entire attention. While the crowd has its eyes on the main event, a gang of pickpocketers does the dirty work and steals every single wallet they can find.

This yet another one of those travel scams that rely on crowds and on people bumping into each other.

  • How to avoid such scams?

Nobody stops you from watching a street show or anything else that might have your interest – however, your hands should be on your wallet all the time, as well as on your bag/ backpack if you have one.

  1. Pretending Scams

Yet another one of the most popular travel scams around the earth implies people that pretend to have a certain disability in order to get money out of compassionate tourists.

These people come in the form of beggars that are deaf, blind, or physically impaired in one way or another – moreover, there have been reports of children with disabilities that have approached tourists with a petition or asking for donations for them or for charity.

  • How to avoid this kind of scam?

Of course, we can never know whether someone is impaired in any way or not – moreover, our compassion will always get the best of us. Therefore, our travel scams guide tells you to know when to stop when it comes to helping homeless or impaired people.

  1. Helpful Locals

Locals can be helpful sometimes – but when they don’t, they usually just pretend to be. Namely, when it comes to the helpful locals’ scam, some will warn tourists to be careful of pickpockets in a certain area, saying that there are a lot of thieves roaming around.

That may sound kind, but they have another purpose – after hearing the word pickpocket, any tourist will instinctively pat-down the place where they keep their wallet, and this is the only gesture a thief needs to make a move.

  • How to avoid this scam?

This is yet another scam that relies on the tourist psychology, so to say – and that’s why you should always be two steps ahead of any thief. When you hear something similar to what we’ve just mentioned, think twice before making a gesture or checking one of your pockets.

  1. Spiked Food or Beverages

Strangers might be very kind and offer you, while riding the bus or relaxing in a park, for example, a drink or a share of their food. Even if you are starving or thirsty, you should never accept such things.

Many times, after saying yes to a refreshment from a stranger, tourists woke up a couple of hours later, laying on the grass, with all of their valuables taken away.

  • How to avoid such scams?

It is recommended that you refuse anything that you didn’t pay for – if it’s free, then there must be a catch or a hidden reason behind it.

  1. Corrupt Police

Tips to Avoid Travel ScamsIn some places, fake police are just as bad as official police – namely, they are corrupt and just love checking tourists’ luggage. In this respect, we refer to most Asian countries – especially India -, as police officers there have more freedom, so to say, than anywhere around the world.

Therefore, you might be stopped on the street and demanded to present your luggage or to open your backpack for a routine check – this is when police officers, both fake and official, might try to steal something from you.

  • How to avoid such scams?

Just as in the case of fake police officers, if an actual cop approaches you and states that he has to do a routine check on your luggage, you should demand this check to be made at the police station.

However, this might annoy them – that’s why we recommend you to be very careful when the police search your bags/ luggage and, if you notice that they stole something, let them know that you’ve noticed.

  1. Fake Bus Stops

This type of scam is specific to certain areas in China, especially to the transit heading to the Great Wall of Chine that passes through the Jishuitan station. Basically, taxi drivers have gone all the way and made a bus stop.

They set up a signboard that displays the numbers of some buses that are meant to pass through that area – in short, everything that a bus stop needs. As tourists get to that bus stop and notice that no buses actually come, they get annoyed and rely on the strategically positioned taxis across the road.

  • How to avoid this scam?

As with many travel scams, we recommend you get informed and plan your travel beforehand – for example, if you take a longer trip, you should know exactly where to stop and where to take a bus/ taxi/ train from.

  1. The Kangaroo Essence

One of the most common travel scams in Australia is related to the sale of the so-called Kangaroo Essence – claimed to be a powerful sexual enhancement product. However, the FDA made an analysis on this product and determined that it contains some ingredients that might lower blood pressure to dangerous levels.

  • How to avoid this scam?

Our travel scams guide recommends you refrain from buying local products – be them from Australia or from anywhere else in the world. They are usually used to create certain beliefs about a certain place, in order to make people visit that country just because it’s the only place you can buy Kangaroo Essence from, for example.

Of course, such products with always come with an exaggerated price.

  1. Tax-Free Outlets

Naturally, everybody loves outlets, especially when they are tax-free as well. That’s why, in touristic cities/ areas, you will likely see advertisements for such outlets – and they’ll have an address as well; how convenient?

The issue here is that, when you reach the location of the so-called tax-free outlet, which is usually a suburban area warehouse, you’ll be greeted by inflated prices and poor-quality products.

  • How to avoid this scam?

First, you should look for information on that outlet online – if there are little to no searched popping up, then it is a scam. Moreover, search for its location – if it is way outside of the city’s center, then you can expect an unkept warehouse with prices worthy of a reputed brand.

  1. Forced Purchase

Reportedly, there have been quite a few cases where the tour operators of various tourist groups have kept their travel documents and passports. The tourists were then told that they had to make purchases at certain shops or stalls if they wanted their documents back.

  • How to avoid this scam?

Make sure that the travel agency is a reputed one and that the tour operator is trustworthy – moreover, keep in mind that, before and during the tour, there is no reason for the tour operators to collect any of your documents.

Of course, you can also report this situation to the authorities as such acts are illegal.

  1. Pub Crawl Scams

There have been cases when people, especially tourists, were sold bracelets that granted them entry to a variety of pubs for free, with a welcome drink included. Naturally, while the prices usually start at around $200, the sellers would drastically drop them to around $50 if you told them you were not interested.

The scam here is that most of the clubs come with a free entry before 10pm, and with a closed entry after that hour – even if you have a bracelet or not.

  • How to avoid this scam?

Avoid buying special bracelets/ wristbands that are deemed to grant you entry to a concert, pub, or anything in this spectrum. If you want to experience some of the bars, pubs, or clubs of the city you are traveling it, we recommend you check their entry policy online, before actually reaching the location.

These were 51 of the travel scams that you can expect experiencing if you travel abroad – some of them might be specific to some areas around the world, but it is quite clear that, no matter where you go, you have to be extremely careful!