13 Most Popular Travel Scams You Should Know
1. The friendship bracelet. Common in: Paris, Rome, Barcelona and Cairo.
Someone will approach you and offer you a friendship bracelet. Regardless of what you say, they will try to take your wrist and begin making the bracelet on you and ask for payment. This scam can also be used as a distraction, while their accomplice pickpockets you.
2. Street games. Common in: Paris, France and London, England.
A man will perform a game such as guessing which cup a ball is in, or a magic trick on the side of the street and will have a group of accomplices disguised as tourists watching his show. This is to make you curious and want to go over and watch him. While you're distracted and concentrating on the performer,his accomplices will pickpocket you.
3. The music artist. Common in: New York City and Los Angeles, United States.
A friendly and enthusiastic man will grab your attention as you walk past and ask you to check out his music, before handing you his seemingly free CD. He will talk to you about how you would be doing him a really big favour by playing it in your home city. When you accept the CD, he will ask for payment and if you refuse, he and his friends will intimidate you until you do so.
4. The drug deal. Common in: Koh Phangan, Thailand
Taxi drivers, or tuk-tuk drivers will sometimes offer you drugs if you're on the way to a party or a night out (particularly a full moon party). When you accept them, fake policemen will just 'happen' to be walking past to catch you, ordering you to pay a large fine to avoid jail.
5. The getaway taxi driver. Common in: Las Vegas, United States.
When you arrive at your hotel from the airport, the taxi driver will kindly take your bags out of the boot for you. He'll seem in a rush though, and quickly hop back into his car and drive off as soon as possible. This is because he actually left one of your smaller and less memorable bags in his taxi.
6. The map seller. Common in: Europe.
People will approach you and try to sell you a map. They will unfold the map in your face to show it to you, but this is done as a distraction while their accomplice pickpockets you.
7. The flirt. Common in: Athens, Greece.
An attractive woman will approach a lone male traveller, and start to flirt with him. She will ask him if he would like to go to a bar or a nightclub with her. At the end of the night, the bill will be extraordinarily high!
8. The broken camera. Common in: Worldwide.
Someone will ask you to take a photo of them and their group of friends. The camera won't work, and when you go to hand it back to them, they will drop it and cause it to smash! The entire group will demand money for repairs.
9. Fake front desk call. Common in: Worldwide.
An identity thief will call your hotel room pretending to be from the front desk. They will pretend there's an issue and will ask for confirmation of credit card details. They call you in the middle of the night as you are much less likely to go downstairs to sort it out instead.
10. The fake takeaway menu. Common in: The United States.
Scam artists will slide fake takeaway menus under your hotel door, in the hope that you'll order something when you don't feel like going out. No food will arrive though, but a scary bank statement after they have processed your card details and make a copy.
11. Eager English students. Common in: Shanghai and Beijing, China.
Similar to "the flirt", innocent looking girls will overhear you speak English and come over to ask if they could practice the language on you. They will then invite you to their favourite cafe to return the favour. When the bill comes, it will be super overpriced and the girls will be nowhere to be seen.
12. The money changer. Common in: Bali, Indonesia
These money changers will attract tourists with their attractive exchange rates. With their quick hand movements and their modes of distractions, tourists will be usually shortchanged when they leave the money changer while the rest is pocketed by the scam artist.
13. The overcharging taxi. Common in: Malaysia
Some taxi drivers will take advantage of your lack of knowledge around the area. They will take longer routes, side streets and areas which sees more traffic. Some have altered meters where the fare increases faster than normal.