Beware of Unsuspecting Travel Scams

Unsuspecting Travel Scams: Shady people take advantages of tourists and if you’re not careful, it’s easy to become a victim. As travellers we think that we are smart enough to avoid getting ripped off, but the truth is it happens to the best of us.

From getting overcharged on cab rides to revealing credit card information, travel scams exist all over the world. It is impossible to know when you will be cheated. It is important to know what kind of scams exists and what to do if the situation arises.

Unsuspecting Travel Scams
Unsuspecting Travel Scams

Here are some of the common travel scams.

Taxi Thieves:

Quiet often taxi drivers take advantage of tourists. My suggestion is if you don’t have much luggage always takes the train or the bus. If you happen to take a taxi then find out what the fare would be beforehand and negotiate the fare before entering the taxi or request that the taxi driver uses the taximeter. Also, insist on being taken directly to your hotel and not too many any unnecessary stops. Taxi drivers work in close liaison with local businessmen where they get a commission for bringing customers.


Beggars usually deaf, blind or pregnant will ask you for money. Woman with babies are common. Children are also frequently used by begging gangs to collect money. Because it’s difficult for most people to say no to the old, injured or young. Sometimes an accomplice nearby is just watching to see where you keep you wallet so they can pickpocket you later.

Exchanging currency

Exchanging currency on the street may seem convenient, but it’s not the best option. To prevent the fraud of being cheated, the safest option is to go to a store specialized in money exchange and knows what the current exchange rate is.

Free Bracelets or rosemary:

This scam tends to prey on female travelers. A friendly man or woman will approach to chat then place a free friendship bracelet on your wrist or hand, give you a sprig of Rosemary for good luck. Once you have it they will demand money. When you refuse they will cause a scene.

Fake travel agencies:  

New travel agencies offer amazing discounts. They are companies that are online temporally long enough to attract customers and then they mysteriously disappear. Before you buy from online travel agencies with deals that are too good to be true, you should research the company and read user reviews.

The dropped wallet:

This scam is a simple Psychological set up common in cities like Rome and Ukraine. An empty wallet is placed on the ground. Tourist roaming around will look at the empty wallet and immediately check up on their wallets. Scammers will closely watch the tourists on serving where they keep their wallets. Next, they will simply barge into you distract you with some scam and in the process will lift the wallet.

The flirt:

Solo travelers, be careful while traveling to Athens, Budapest and other Eastern European cities. An attractive woman will approach a solo traveler and start flirting casually. She will ask the person to buy her a glass of beer or a drink or she will pick the bar of her choice and will drink free beers and drinks. Under some pretext she will excuse herself disappear, leaving you with an exorbitant bill, which you will have to pay in order to get out of the pub and reach your hotel safely.

Mildura “fruit-picking “scam:

In Mildura, there is an infamous farm owner “Don” who offers fruit picking jobs to backpackers. At this farm, backpackers are lured in by promises of high pay but in reality, are paid peanuts while having to pay Don an exorbitant upfront fee before starting the job.

Jet Ski scam at Thailand

Jet Ski scam at Thailand is a common scam. When you return a rented jet ski the operator will claim that you damaged it. A substantial repair fee is then demanded. If at all you refuse there will be men in uniform who pass by coincidentally and threaten to arrest you.

Massage Tout scam:

These scammers pose as massage shop managers, offering a special price to tourist to come to their massage shops as they claim that business has not been so good recently. If you agree they will take you to the shop, they will ask for prepayment and go back on the streets to find more customers. These Touts are not affiliated to the massage shop. So if you pay you will not be getting any massage in return.


Many scams include some form of distraction such as a person performing a magic show, which is said to be the most common street scam in London. The performers’ accomplice pickpockets the tourist while they are focused on the street show. Some guys involved in the scam at Barcelona and Madrid may even show up at your hotel room fully dressed in the hotel’s uniform, claiming a room inspection is required. One will talk to you while the other one attempt to steal your belonging while inspecting the room.

Stain on the jacket:

someone will deliberately spill ketchup, paint, ink, or fake bird poop subtly or by bumping into you. The concerned person will point out the stain on your jacket and will offer to wipe it clean. However, in the process, they will snatch your phone, wallet or whatever belongings are there in your jacket pocket. This scam takes place mostly in Buenos Aires and Rio de Janeiro.

Street Games

Street Games is a common sight in Paris and London, where a man is performing street games with cups and balls or finds your card among the three cards. You will see the person is surrounded by locals encouraging them to join in the game. At first, you will win the game and they will continue to cheer you but later you will lose the game where you will lose all your earning at one go. This is a very common scam and the worst case is getting pick-pocketed while your focus is engaged on the game.

Travel Scammers sucks no matter how prepared you think you are.  You’ll unknowingly fall for some sort of travel scam. But don’t let this deter you from traveling the world. Think of it as a rite of passage.

These are some of the most common scams you’re likely to encounter. Knowledge is power. The more people that know about these scams the less likely you will fall for them.

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