When you are traveling somewhere, the last thing you wish to happen to you during the voyage is becoming a victim of local scammers. Of course, while preparing for the journey, you will get many pieces of advice how to acquit yourself in different situations in order to maintain your security in foreign lands. However, there are scam schemes that not many people have heard about, and even knowledgeable and experienced travelers may get on bad hat’s hook if they don’t know what to expect and what to avoid and where to search for wake-up calls.
One of the recent examples – false ‘Tea Ceremony’ that takes place in Chinese cities, especially in Beijing and Shanghai. Young women offer a tourist to take part in a real but inexpensive tea ceremony to feel the atmosphere of Chinese culture. In the real world, tourist will receive a $400 bill for a tasting session of several tea sorts.
Europe is famous for scammers hunting for easy-going tourists, and here is a list of the most common scams that tourists may face during their pleasant trip:
- False petitions. Avoid children with petitions from established charities that act like they are deaf or dumb – such kind of scam is widespread in France especially. For the most part, your donation will include your valuables and cash from the wallet, so better report about them to the police.
- Tire puncturing. Popular kind of scam in Italy, especially between Naples and Sorrento. Firstly, scammer punctures tires of tourist’s car and then offers help. Happen you to say ‘Yes’ – and you can get ready to be robbed. Prevent that by checking the vehicle before going somewhere and do not accept help from strangers.
- Phony currency. Do not trust street money changers and taxi drivers, especially in Hungary where such cases became very frequent. It is advisable to exchange money at reliable establishments.
- Bogus policemen. This scheme is popular in the Czech Republic: a person offers a tourist something illegal (like marijuana joint), and immediately after that a “policeman” will pop up with a demand to show wallet and passport. The most efficient way to get rid of them is to offer them to go to the nearest police station.
- Fake entry fees. Scammers demanding cash for a possibility to drive into Gibraltar are not an infrequent event on the Spanish/Gibraltar border. Remember, that you can do it for free.
- Netherlands is known for this kind of scam where diners in restaurants are distracted and pickpocketed by thieves that act as if they are searching for a companion during their lunch. Tell staff if there is something strange going on and keep an eye on your possessions.
- Found rings. Paris gypsies like to drain your cash with the help of this trick. They grab your attention asking if whether the ring on the ground is yours – you refuse and get this ring as a gift. And in return, you give gypsies all money you have. The same goes with friendship bracelets – if you agree to take one, they’ll demand money from you (usually €20).
- False taxi drivers. Polish phony taxi drivers waylay tourists in common locations like airports or tourists hotspots and overcharge customers explaining that their meters are out of order. Take into consideration that such situations don’t happen with official taxi cars.
- Get scammed even before you travel somewhere. There is only one official website for applying ESTA However, there are plenty of scam sites of the same appearance that collect far more than official $14, so be sure that you use the official one.