Wednesday, December 7

Common tourist scams and how to avoid them



Being on holiday in an unfamiliar place can make you feel vulnerable – so it’s not surprising that tourists are highly susceptible to becoming victims of scams and petty crime.

How can you avoid these? Awareness is key. This Buzzfeed video shows eight common tourist scams reported by victims – so make sure you don’t fall for them.

1. Street seller tricks

Someone approaches you with an item jewellery, asking if you have dropped it. When you tell them you haven’t, they try and sell it to you or ask for money.

2. Unlawful taxis

Be aware that some taxi drivers collecting you from the airport will not take you on the most direct route to your location. When they realise you’re not from the area there’s a chance they might take you on a longer route to raise the fare.

3. Fake flat tyres

Someone flags you down on the side of the road to tell you that you have a flat tyre. When you wind your window down to talk to them, they try and steal something from your car and then run off.

4. Getting tied up

In busy market areas or in the central shopping district of a town or city, someone approaches you and ties a bracelet round your wrist. Try to avoid this as many of them will tie the bracelet so tightly you won’t be able to remove it again and they will demand payment.

5. Spilt drinks

You’re in a crowd and someone ‘accidentally’ spills a drink on you and then take advantage of your lack of awareness by pickpocketing you (or getting an accomplice to do it) as you try and clean it. This is the time to be very alert of pickpockets.

6. Fake police

You’re approached by someone claiming to be a member of the police, who stops you and asks to see your visa or passport, then claims something is wrong with it and tells you you have to pay a ‘fine’ or bribe. Always tell them you’d rather accompany them to the nearest police station and deal with it there; if they’re scam artists they’ll generally leave you alone at this point.

7. Knife carriers

Thieves often carry knives that they can use to cut the strap on your bag or cut directly into your bag. If you’re wearing a crossbody bag, keep it around your front with your hand on it when possible to make sure they can’t take it if they cut the straps.

8. Fake hotel staff

A scammer may call your hotel room, claiming to be from the hotel reception, saying there’s an issue with your credit card and asking you to verify the number over the phone. Never do this. Bona fide reception staff are far more likely to ask you to come down to the front desk and speak to them in person; you should never give your payment details out over the phone unless you are absolutely certain of who you are talking to.