Travelers are always at risk of being scammed or cheated. Some people take advantage of travelers and tourists because they simply don’t know the city or the country. The people will look to exploit your lack of knowledge and your naivety. Many of them will even seem friendly, as if they are trying to help, but in fact, they are setting you up and take some of your money without you even realizing. Here are some of the most popular scams encountered around the world when traveling. Learn about them and see how you can avoid them so that you have a pleasant journey without unfortunate events to ruin your day.
1. Taxi Scams
While there are plenty of honest taxi drivers out there, it’s extremely common for some of them to trick you as soon as they spot you aren’t from around. One of the most popular scams is them saying their meter is broken. Then they start negotiating a price with you. Most of the time the price they try to convince you to pay will be several times the normal fair. As soon as they come up with any excuse to not run the meter, leave the taxi and don’t look back.
Another common scam ran by taxi drivers is them telling you how the hotel you’re going to is not working, or under renovation, but they know a better place. In some countries, taxi drivers receive a commission from hotel owners, if they bring a new customer. As soon as they attempt to talk about anything else other than driving you to your destination, change taxi or ignore the information completely.
2. Did you Lose This?
Another common travel scam is the seemingly honest person approaching you about a lost ring or other precious items. They will ask you whether you lost it and even if you say it’s not yours, they will insist you take it. Many tourists take the item thinking they scored something of value from a helpful stranger, but the wheel turns when this stranger asks for compensation. Whatever you do, refuse or return the item and walk away. It is never something of value. These scammers are just taking advantage of you and other travelers.
3. Friendship Bracelets
In popular destinations such as Paris, while you are distracted by historical monuments, an overly friendly stranger will approach you and tightly tie a friendship bracelet before you can react. Once they tie the bracelet they ask you to pay for their services. In some cases, this is also used as a distraction and while you argue with the stranger, someone else will pickpocket your valuables. If you are in Rome, Paris or any other tourist hotspot be aware of your surroundings and look for people trying to offer “free” stuff to tourists. They always have an ulterior motive, nothing is free as much as they claim that it is free. Refuse whatever they offer and walk away, you not forced to accept or pay for their “services”.