Every country has travel scams that you should be wary of. Whether you’re new to traveling or been traveling for a long time now, you can still fall victim to scammer’s traps.
Tourist Scams You Need to Know
As a tourist, you must be prepared for various experiences, from good to bad. Below is a list of these scams to ensure that you, as a traveler going to a foreign country, will enjoy a safe and hassle-free trip.
1. The Falling Lady (London)
One of the popular travel scams in the book, which is very prevalent in London, is “The Falling Lady.” An older woman will cause a commotion by falling to get everyone’s attention. Then, her accomplices will now pickpocket those concerned people.
A way to avoid being the prey of the tumbling woman scam is to be extra suspicious when this happens out of nowhere. If an older adult needs help, shout and ask for help instead of leaving your things behind and assisting them.
2. Newspaper Trick (Rome and other countries)
When you go to a crowded tourist attraction, children will appear from all directions to surround you and wave newspapers. They will act like they are selling you newspapers. But when you are distracted, one of these kids will get something from your bag.
It is a popular vacation scam in Rome, but you can still experience this in other countries too. When you encounter this, don’t be afraid to bump into the children and make your way out as quickly as possible.
3. Dress Stain Scam (New York, USA)
Another fraud you must be aware of is the dress stain you’ll get when queueing in line for anything or walking down the street. A person will squirt ketchup or anything similar to your clothes, and they will attack once you get stressed about it.
You can walk away with a ketchup stain or put your bag between your feet while cleaning yourself. It’s best to approach a person of authority when a person bugs you by saying sorry about the incident.
4. Jet Ski Repair Trick (Thailand)
This trick is famous in Thailand but can also be experienced in tropical countries with amazing beaches. When you return a jet ski to the rental shop, they will ask for money from you because you damaged the vehicle.
You need to book your rentals beforehand and research the most trusted shops online. This way, you can ensure that you will not pay double or triple the rental price just because of a damage repair scam.
5. Free Bracelet (Paris)
A vendor will approach you and instantly put the bracelet on your wrist, telling you that it’s free and has good luck. And when you don’t resist and continue walking, they will start asking for payment, or worse, one of them will start pickpocketing.
You can experience this in commercialized tourist destinations like Paris. Be prepared to be aggressive when pulling away your hands when they start putting the weaved bracelets. Say sorry and walk away as fast as possible.
6. The Milk Scam (Cambodia)
In countries like Cambodia, you will find clever scams like this. First, a child will come to you and ask you to buy them milk from a store. Next, after you buy the milk, they will return the same to the store to get their share.
Avoid giving money to children or people in general in a different country. It’s better to be safe than sorry. Remember that you aim to enjoy roaming around the country and returning home safe and sound.
7. Helpful Locals Trick (Prague)
There are times when you need help with directions and doing transactions. Overly helpful locals do this trick of helping foreigners from bringing bags to the taxi to ATM withdrawals. Then, they will pickpocket your valuable belongings right after.
When you are crowded with locals, politely tell them you don’t need help and transfer quickly to another location. You must also avoid bringing cash when going out alone, and don’t put everything in your bag.
8. Slow Counting of Change (Italy)
Ask for change all the time. Sometimes, vendors will slowly count your change, making you lose your patience and grab them even though it’s not complete. Sometimes, they will act like they forgot how to count to test you even more.
At times like this, be patient. Or, when the country you’ll fly to accepts credit cards in most stores, use it to avoid scams like this. There are countries like Taiwan where you can reload a prepaid card to pay for almost everything.
9. Bag Slash (Everywhere)
It is one of the most infamous travel scams in every country in the world. When you are in a crowded place like a terminal or train station, someone might go behind your back and slash the bottom part of your bag to get what’s valuable.
To avoid this, you must wear your bag and place them in front of you, especially when approaching a big crowd. You can also put money in your pockets and socks.
10. Travel Agency Scam (Anywhere)
You need to contact a travel agency when you book a package trip to another country. However, there will be times when you encounter scam artists pretending to be legit travel agents. As a consequence, you will pay for the trip and not experience it.
Ask your friends and families who have previously used a travel agency for agencies you can trust. Then, do your research and look for Reddit threads about these agencies so you can avoid getting scammed.
11. Fake Border Fees (Spain)
A prevalent scam in border checks, like in Spain, is the fake fees. Most scammers have fake IDs and pretend they work in the government while asking for money from you.
To avoid this, research and read all the fees you might pay when traveling to a country near the borders. Always shut your car doors locked and call the authorities when you can.
What Are Your Experiences of Travel Scams?
You can never be too sure about your travel security when going to a new country. There are scammers everywhere; all you can do is be aware and act quickly when you encounter them. Always research before traveling to a different country to reduce the chances of falling victim to travel scams. There may be bad experiences in a country, but never allow them to enjoy the good ones it can offer.
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