Shady people will always take advantage of tourists and frequent travellers regardless of where you’re planning to go. Aside from acquiring a travel insurance to protect you while abroad, you should know the most common travel scams you are likely to encounter while out there enjoying a new location.
Broken taxi meter. But it’s not really broken. Cab drivers near airports or other transport hubs are known to pull this scam. It can also happen anywhere. When you get into a taxi and the taxi starts to drive, the driver will then inform you that the meter is broken and charge you a ridiculous price. Avoid this by negotiating rates ahead of time, or making sure that the meter is working before getting in the car. If the taxi driver refuses to turn on the meter or tells you that you’ll save more without the meter, get out and hail another cab besides not all cab drivers are scammers.
Free accessory. This is rarely the case. This scam preys on both male and female travellers. A friendly person will approach to chat with you, then place an accessory on your wrist or hand you something for good luck. After you have it, they will demand money and when you refuse, they’ll start a scene. To avoid this, don’t let anyone put anything on your body, and be extremely careful when accepting something for free – because that is rarely the case.
Spills on you. You’re walking down the street and suddenly you’ll feel something plop on your shoulder. Sometimes a bird poop or a condiment. Out from nowhere a stranger will approach and will begin wiping off the mess while picking your wallet from your purse or pocket. The best thing to do in circumstances like this is to not let someone help you. Just go to a restroom and clean the mess yourself.
Closed or overbooked hotel. This common travel scam happens with cab drivers. While en route to your hotel, the driver will sometimes tell their passenger that the hotel is either closed or overbooked and then take you to some other expensive hotel where the driver will receive a big commission. Avoid this by calling and booking the hotel in advance. You can also ask if they’re offering a shuttle pickup. If the taxi driver tells you that the hotel isn’t available, insist anyway and tell him you have a reservation even if you don’t.
ATM helper. Someone will approach you while at an ATM to help you with anything or even to avoid local bank fees. What they’re really trying to do is scan your ATM card with the card skimming device in their pocket and watch you enter your pin number so they can get money from your account later. Never let anyone near you while you’re doing an ATM transaction.
As travellers, it is easy to think that we are experienced enough to avoid getting ripped off. The truth is, it happens to the best of us. Therefore, it’s always the best course to stay safe.
That’s it. There are of course many other types of scams you may encounter depending on your travel location. Always remember to stay safe and enjoy your trip!