Top 7 Common Travel Scams You Should Avoid

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From Europe, Africa, the Americas, to Asia, the world is chock-full of amazing bucket destinations that pull millions of tourists every year. We are talking about cheery markets, sandy beaches, islands, ancient palaces, wildlife, and such jokes. And with such mammoth crowds, comes the inevitable travel scams that evil creatives and con artists employ to expertly rip off unsuspecting travellers.

Whenever you travel, you can easily fall victim to such scams that are usually cleverly executed. Since scams can affect anyone, knowing some of them and how to avoid falling victim will go a long way to help you make the most out of your travel.

1. The ‘Shoplifting’ Hoax

You’re strolling down the streets of Italy and suddenly, a woman starts arguing with a vendor, with the latter accusing her of “shoplifting”. She proceeds to strip naked, to her underwear, at least to “prove” her innocence. The vendor “realises” she didn’t shoplift anything and apologises as the crowd leaves. Within those few minutes, pickpockets were at work and that’s how your wallet disappeared.

Cons artists are a common feature along many European streets, and tourists are the easy targets. Avoid distraction scams.

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2. Beggars

Another travel scam you can easily avoid is the street beggars. The worst ones are mostly those with babies because most, if not all of them, are maybe out to pick your pockets.

3. Puncture Pirates

Highway pirates will puncture your tire and follow you until when your car grounds to a halt. It is at this point and time that they will pretend to be helping you fix it, but the truth is that they will turn against you and rob you mercilessly.

4. False Petitions

In some cities, you will find children who come across as disabled and they will pretend that they are representing a charity organisation. They will, first of all, ask you to sign their documents before coming for your money. Ignore them and make a report to the police.

5. ‘Entry’ Fees

Scam artists pose with fake IDs at entry points or border, and their work entails asking for “entry fees” to pass through. The best you can do at this point is to ignore them and keep all your valuables out of their sight.

6. Counterfeit Money

Fake money is probably the worst scams of all time. The thing is, you’re traveling in a new country where you have never had the opportunity to internalise with its money to enable you to set apart fake money from the real one. Dingy money booths and taxi drivers can easily pass on fake money to you and any other unsuspecting travellers, and that’s how people lose their hard-earned money.

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7. Extortionate Bills

Pay attention to this in bars and restaurants to avoid unexplained surcharges to your bills. If you don’t have more money, they will escort you to a nearby ATM and force you to part with more money. It’s overly important to do your homework and seek recommendations before checking into any restaurant or bar.