Nov 07, 2017
Planning a trip away? Don’t let a scam ruin your holiday. Wherever tourists go, scam artists are never far behind. Driven by circumstances, these people make a living from tricking unsuspecting tourists.
Here are a few travel scams to avoid on your next trip.
The Fake Tickets Scam
Common near places such as theatres, concerts, or even bus and train stations where tickets are required for entry. The scammers offer tickets at a reduced price, or claim to save you time by avoiding long queues. However often the tickets are not legitimate and there is no way to retrieve the money you have spent on your purchase. Always purchase tickets from official sources such as tickets sales office or associated websites if you want to avoid long queues.
The Free Bracelet Scam
This con has been around for years. A friendly local approaches for a chat, then places a bracelet on your wrist telling you that it is free, followed by a “blessing” of some sort. Once that’s done, the person will start demanding for money for the blessing. Sometimes making an embarrassing team if you refuse to hand over money.
Reject anyone who tries to hand you anything, or put anything on your body. It could be a bracelet, a necklace, or even a sprig of rosemary. The scammers like to target people in very touristy areas, so if they approach you, politely decline and walk away.
The Taxi Scam
The good old taxi scams have probably been around since the dawn of taxis. The common tourist scams are:
Always ask the cab driver if he’s using the meter before getting in. If he refuses, just walk away and move to the next taxi. If you know the estimated fare to your destination and you are happy to pay a fixed fare, always negotiate before getting in the car.
If you have not been to the destination previously it may be difficult to know if you are being taken along the scenic route. Getting a local sim card in order to be able to track your movements on your mobile phone could be a helpful to avoid this but also a good safety measure in general to make sure you are contactable by friends and family.
The Child Beggar Scam
Often encountered in public areas, usually at the outdoor section of a bar or restaurant, a child that looks poor or malnourished may approach you asking for money. Some variations include:
Unfortunately, these encounters often lead to pick pockets stealing wallets or valuables while the owners are being distracted. Always be aware of your surroundings and keep your valuables close by when you are travelling. Pick pockets may act even in safe areas.