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Planning your next adventure? Well beware, the world is full of scammers just waiting for your arrival. Each year, tens of thousands of people fall victim to all sorts of crime on the road. So this year, along with your clothes, it’s worthwhile to pack some travel scam knowledge. The following will come in handy, keeping you safe and vigilant before your next departure.
Street Money Exchangers
Some countries are just full of scammers waiting for you to exchange your money. They prey on your lack of knowledge of foreign exchange, hoping to score a deal. Stay clear of these shady characters. Oh, and by the way, it’s illegal to exchange money on the street anyway.
Beware of some locals. They may approach you seeming very friendly, often offering to buy you a drink or party with you. But after they’ve earned your trust – they may take you to a way more expensive bar, only to leave you with the tab at the end. Some friend, huh?
Beware of taxi or tuk-tuk drivers. They come off friendly at first, but as soon as you’re in their seat, you’re in trouble. In many a 3rd world country, they’re famous for taking the “scenic route” – just to inflate the fare through the roof.
The Baby Toss
This one’s pretty nifty. It’s a tag-team scam where one person will hold what looks like a swaddled baby, then all of a sudden pretending to trip and drop it – knowing full well most will spring over to help. All the while, their partner picks your pocket or bag.
The Broken Camera
Tourist attractions are full of phony tourists who will ask you to take their picture. Their trick is to give you their camera (which is worthless) to take their picture, and when you hand it back, they fumble and drop it – making it look like it’s your fault so that you pay up. Can you say “cheesy scam”?
Here’s one you guys need to watch out for. A pretty girl may be dancing on the street hoping that you’ll stand there and gawk. And when you do – goodbye wallet.
This one’s a common, but nasty one. If you get a wake-up call from the front desk asking you for your passport number, or credit card details because their computer crashed – it’s not the front desk. It’s some thief looking to score big while you’re too half asleep to suspect it’s a scam.
Fake Friendship Bracelet
Beware of children. More specifically, children that come up to you with a bracelet, tying it on to your wrist before you can say “no thanks”. They just want your money, and even if you refuse – their adult accomplice will come out of nowhere and demand you pay up.
Think only Ebay or Craigslist is fraught with fake ticket sellers? Think again. Fast-talking scalpers selling fake tickets litter the streets of some countries. So buyers, beware.
At some point on your trip you’re going to need to take out some cash. And as you fumble your way through this foreign machine’s language settings, scammers pretending to be helpful bystanders will memorize your PIN, and attempt to snatch your card when you’re not looking. So be extra careful when using these machines.