As visitors in foreign countries, we’re all vulnerable to another person’s hustle. These are commonly known as scams. Travellers are seen as easy targets because they are not as familiar with the surroundings, language or local culture. Whether you’re naive or just good-hearted, nobody wants to be taken advantage of, so avoid being “that tourist” and dodge these common tourist scams.
Unlicenced drivers will try every trick in the book to pick your wallet, from proposing a high fee per kilometre or taking a longer route on purpose, to raising the price of travel. Only drive with licenced taxi drivers so remember to look for legitimate licence plates on the mini cabs or ask for valid ID. Try to pay in advance; if you can’t negotiate a fair price for the travel then don’t pay until you’re in front of your final destination.
Avoid the Cashbox Conundrum
Your wallet’s running low and you need to top-up on cash for dinner. But you can’t seem to work the hole in the wall. Lucky for you, a Good Samaritan has offered to help you withdraw cash. They’re not out there to help you out; they just want your pin number. That ATM you’re using is a hoax, it has saved your card number and now that nice man has your pin number. Be wary of peculiar cash boxes; only go to national or respected banks to avoid being played as a fool.
These slicksters have quick hands and even faster exits. Whether you’re on the Tube or in the queue at a museum, beware of these parasites. Be sure to cover your wallet, mobile, or any valuables so these punks are left empty handed.
Faux Po Po
It can be hard to say no to law enforcement, especially in a foreign city when you don’t know what the police even look like. Be aware of “officers” approaching you on the street claiming to be inspecting counterfeit money. They might ask to see your wallet (don’t do it) and next thing you know your wallet is a little lighter than last time you used it. Know local authority, badges can be deceiving but uniforms are illegal to duplicate.
Lord of the ‘Lost’ Rings
It appears some poor soul has lost their ring. You aren’t the first person to notice it; someone else has already picked it up. They ask if you know whose it is, the stranger then asks if you want to buy it off them to see if it belongs to anyone in your hostel. Avoid your guilty conscience and Good Samaritan image and kindly decline. Let that poser try their luck on some other dimwit.
Travelling is easy if you know when to say “No”. Be wary of these common travel scams and be sure your get to spend your hard earned money on the holiday you earned.