Travelling is one of the most exciting pastimes ever. We are so thrilled to see new places, try unique cuisines, and tap into unknown cultures that we often forget about the dangers that go along all that exciting stuff. Where there are tourists, there are scammers, which means they can be found in literally every part of the world. Their ways are wicked, unexpected, and downright genius at times. If you want to avoid spending unnecessary money during your travels, here’s a list of 9 ways tourists get cheated in various countries all over the world.
If a cute guy approaches you in the streets of Rome offering you a rose and hug, you are free to run away screaming because you’re about to get scammed. These guys use your confusion to snatch whatever jewellery and precious things you have on you. Gypsy women also use roses, but a bit differently – they will put a flower into your bag and demand you pay for it. If you refuse they start creating a scene, so it’s better to just return the rose and get out of there.
Huge puppets (Ukraine, Russia)
If you see huge weird-looking puppets roaming around the main street in Kyiv, Ukraine, make sure you avoid all contact. While seemingly friendly, they will pose for selfies with you, especially if you’re travelling with kids. Later they will demand payment for each shot taken! They act bold and aggressive, but don’t let them harass you into paying (unless the price was announced before). Just delete the photos and go away!
Dancing cartoons (Spain, Romania, Poland, Italy)
These dancing cartoons look absolutely lovely dancing their way through some tune from a music box. But don’t be deceived into believing these are some kind of ‘magnetic figurines’ that can dance on their own when there’s music playing! Yes, it’s an actual scam and people really buy it. Here the scammer simply uses a hook and a transparent fishing line to make them dance.
Local currency (Czech Republic, Egypt, Italy)
It’s easy to get confused when you have to deal with unknown currency. That’s why before going to a new country you need to research what kind of currency it has, what it looks like, and what notes are in circulation right now. For example, in Italy they can give you change with Italian lires instead of euro cents, while in Czech Republic you may receive Bulgarian levs instead of Czech krones. At the market they also like to write prices without specifying the currency, so always check before buying!
Helpers (Egypt, Bali, Spain, China)
People will approach you with all kinds of suggestions – either show you the way to the place you’re going or help you carry the bags in the airport. Please mind that all of these services aren’t free at all and there’s a hefty sum of money these ‘helpers’ will demand afterwards. When it comes to luggage, it’s best not to entrust it to strangers, anyway.
Sim card (India)
If you want to get a working sim card in India you’ll have to fill up quite a few forms and then wait a few days before it gets activated. If you’re buying a card and they don’t demand you filling up the forms, along with 2 passport-sized photos and some signatures, it’s definitely a scam and your sim card will stop working really soon.
Receipts (Czech Republic)
Buying products in a supermarket might seem safe at first, but you should always check your receipt before going away from the counter after paying money. When cashiers see a tourist they often add a few more products to your receipt, or similar products with a higher price tag hoping you wouldn’t notice as it’s foreign currency. Just need to be more attentive!
Friendship bracelets (France, Greece, Italy, Spain)
This scam is quite common and is mostly done by kids. They will approach you and put a friendship bracelet on your hand without warning. Afterwards they’ll demand some money and the price won’t be that high even. The main scam here is in the fact that while doing this they’ll be searching what to steal from you and will do it any moment!
The hotel game (India)
So you catch a riksha in India, tell him the address and the name of your hotel, but after sometime (or immediately right away) he ‘finds out’ that your hotel is no more – it closed, moved, burnt down, etc. The driver will offer to take you to another very good hotel, and if you decide to stay there – he’ll get a hefty commission. To avoid a scam like this insist on taking you to the address you’ve shown or use the services of Ola taxi, which is all over India.