No matter how diligent we think we are, there are always people out there who are drawn to preying on foreign visitors. Being tricked or scammed can ruin a holiday so don’t fall victim to these hoaxers and find out how you can avoid some of the most common travel scams.
1. Fake Fines
In some countries the police can be just as untrustworthy as the actual criminals. If you get stopped by the police who tell you that there’s an issue with your passport or similar document and demand an on-the-spot fine, they’re probably fake. Asking for their ID isn’t going to prove anything so if there really is a problem, go direct to the local police station and never give them cash on the street.
2. Taxi Tricks
How many of us have been hugely over-charged for a taxi ride? Unwittingly, you could have taken an unlicensed cab, or just been unlucky and chose a corrupt taxi driver who drove you around for an inflated price fare. Avoid this scam by only choosing licensed cabs and always agree a price before accepting the ride.
3. Restaurant Rip-Off
Another common travel scam is being over-charged on your restaurant bill, or having extra items you didn’t order suddenly appearing on the final check. When questioned, some restaurants will even have a separate menu with the higher prices. Avoid this by thoroughly checking your bill before you part with your money.
4. Street Swindle
Have you ever been offered a sprig of rosemary, flower or friendship bracelet only to be cajoled into having your palm read or money being demanded from you? Even worse, you might have even been pick pocketed in all the distraction. Whilst not every seller will be corrupt, don’t take your chances and simply walk away without accepting any ‘gift’.
5. False Friends
Meeting new people is one of the best things about travelling but some locals only want to befriend you to take your money. If someone approaches you, use your better judgement and don’t take up their offer of going to a restaurant or visit one of their friend’s shops: it’s likely you’ll be overcharged on the bill or end up buying a grossly overpriced item and your new ‘friend’ will suddenly be nowhere in sight!