Who doesn’t like traveling? Whether you choose to cross the country to have a nice sunbath or do some skiing, it’s always a good thing to give yourself the vacation you need. However, as a tourist, you should always be aware of the dangers you might face. Travelling has never been easy, scammers are all around waiting for anybody with no knowledge of the local lifestyle to take advantage of.
Every year a large number of swindles are being registered, many people have found themselves in really dangerous positions after being scammed. We don’t mean to freak you out, but caution should always be taken when traveling to any place, including Europe, Africa, Asia, and America, I mean, there is no place that’s 100% safe.
The places you watch documentaries have many bad things to hide, So what you have to do as a tourist is to be aware of all kinds of cheating that might threaten you. Keep on reading if you want to find all the tips and tricks to avoid all the common travel scams reported by millions of people around the world.
Common global travel scams tourists should know
1. Fake tickets
Some travel agencies and also scammers will offer you tickets at a discount. Don’t ever fall for that; the tickets could be fake and by the time you find out they’re already gone with your money.
This could happen with taxis too; a taxi driver might offer to take you to a friend of his who happens to be a local travel agent; don’t fall for that too. Make sure to always buy your tickets from an official office or a trusted website.
2. ATM helper
When using the ATM, never let anyone stand near you, any of the tourist swindles around will approach you while using the ATM to help you avoid local bank fees. Well… that’s what they claim; however, the truth is all they want to do is scan your ATM card with card skimmers and memorize your PIN code for later use (draining your account out of money).
Always cover your PIN code while using the ATM and if someone ever approaches you; consider using another ATM. In many countries like Mexico, Italy, and even India, there is a small percentage of people who pretend to help you cash out money using an ATM when the truth is completely different, so, be careful. Instead, it’s better to use an ATM that’s inside a big Mall or directly on the view of a police agent but not an ATM when no one is there.
3. The found ring
This is something very common in Europe including Spain, France, and Italy, someone might approach you with a golden ring claiming that they found it, then force it onto your finger despite your protests, then demand money.
There are various similar kinds of scams such as ‘friendship bracelets’ tied onto your wrists or roses being thrust on girlfriends or spouses. Other similar popular swindles are called ‘the rosemary scam’; a woman would hand you a sprig of rosemary for good luck.
Such bad people will start to make a scene unless you give them money; so beware of them and never come near them.
If you’ve been traveling the world and visited countries where traditional items are being exposed and sold, then you may have noticed how huge the difference is in prices.
In fact, artisans can make great, well-crafted items that are hand-made, but unfortunately, sellers are offering them for a huge profit that exceeds 1000% of the real cost. So, avoid being ripped off by buying these items from official stores only and not from souks, etc…
The majority of beggars are children used by begging gangs to collect money, Many children seem to be blind, deaf, or injured, Some beggars might also be pregnant women. Such sorts of scenes are empathy stimulators, which makes you unable to say no to lean your hand toward your pocket for money. Sometimes, an accomplice nearby is observing you, to see where you keep your money so they can pickpocket you later.
If you ever feel sorry for these children, give them food instead of money to avoid such kinds of scams.
Muggers are a very common thing wherever you go. They will aim to distract you while they rob you. Beware of any kind of unusual distractions you receive from strangers and never forget to pay attention in crowded places.
If you’re walking around or visiting old city shops, prepare yourself for this kind of danger, don’t stop just watching how good a product is and neglect yourself and your backpack. And also, when someone asks you questions, don’t concentrate 100% and forget that someone from behind can steal something.
7. Phony takeaway menu
A Takeaway menu might be slipped under the door of your hotel room; if you ever order from it, there is a chance you won’t get any food. As a matter of fact, the person on the other side of your phone will be provided with all your card details and will be making a large withdrawal later. Always order room service or eat in local restaurants.
8. The fake police officer
This is also one of the most popular ways of travel fraud around the world, someone might approach you and offer something illicit, such as drugs. In the meanwhile, two guys in police uniforms will claim to be police officers then demand you to hand them your passport and wallet.
Don’t ever hand your wallet or passport to anybody unless you’re a hundred percent sure of their real identities.
9. The flirtatious
A fine woman you meet on the street might approach you then seductively invites you for a drink after a nice chat. When the bill arrives, that’s when you realize you’ve been the victim of a travel scam because the bill is much more than you expected. Never accept the invitation of anyone unless you get to know them well.
10. Fake Wi-Fi hubs
Hackers will set up tempting unsecured Wi-Fi hotspots in public locations that anyone would eagerly connect to. That actually gives them access to your computer, passwords, online accounts, personal data, and more. For that reason, never connect to any Wi-Fi connections unless you make sure it’s an official one. Make sure to use a VPN to encrypt all your online activities.
11. Always pay less than what you asked for
This is not always the case, some products in official stores are good, and thus, paying the fixed price is what we all do, but if you’re buying something from artisans or shops on the streets, then, they’ll double the prices just because they found you a tourist. These common scams are real issues for tourists in countries like Spain, especially Barcelona, Tunisia, Morocco, Bangkok, and others.
So, be careful, take a photo of the product if you can, and search for it on Google. You’ll find average prices for everything you need, and by using the currency converter, you’ll know if the seller is a scammer or not.
12. The fake wakeup call
Someone might call you at night claiming to be one of the front desk staff. They might tell you something such as ‘the internal computer system has crashed and they need your credit card’.
It’s just another scam to empty your bank account, always refuse to give such information, and make sure you let the real front desk staff know about it.
13. The discount lies
If you’re been traveling and found huge discounts on products on the streets, then, you already found them not even worth it, or useless. And if you’re lucky enough, you’ll get them for as much as twice the regular prices that others buy for.
When someone notices you’re a tourist who visits his country for the first time, you’ll be an easy target, so, scammers can get your hard-earned money by offering fake discounts. That’s why the majority of old city stores do not even list the prices, thus, they sell the products based on what they see in the visitor’s face, clothes, talk, etc… The more you look rich to them, the more chances they’ll scam you, so, talk like you already know the prices and you can check them on Google before buying.
14. The motorbike rental
After you rent a scooter or a motorbike, it gets damaged or even stolen, don’t worry this might be just another travel scam, What you need to know is that the damage or the stealing could be done by the owner himself just to find a reason to ask for additional payment.
You can avoid this scam by taking a picture of the motorbike to document any previous damage if present; always use your own lock and make sure to place the bike somewhere safe.
These are some but not all travel scams to be aware of and avoid, if you find yourself in such situations, please tell us about that in your email, and let us know how you deal with such problems. Every tip counts and many others can be prepared and avoid such bad things when traveling.