In 2016, there were approximately 1.235 billion international tourists around the world. In relation to 2015, this was an increase of 4%. At the same time, France, the USA, Spain, China, Italy, and the United Kingdom became the most popular countries among tourists.
Along with the growing number of tourists, the number of deceived travelers also increases. After all, when visiting foreign countries, we often trust locals a bit too much. And the realization that we have been deceived might come too late.
We at WeGoRo decided to share the most common tricks that scammers and thieves use in almost every country around the world.
Imagine yourself walking quietly through an unfamiliar city. You suddenly notice that on the sidewalk there is a ring, a bracelet, or some other rather expensive item. You pick it up, and at this very moment someone comes up to you and starts strongly encouraging you not to look for the owner (they say it’s practically impossible) but to split the value of the item in half.
Since he does not have any cash with him, the stranger asks you to give him a certain amount, and you keep the found piece for yourself. Later, however, it turns out that the jewelry is fake and worthless and that you gave a large sum of money to a fraudster.
In many countries of the world, local residents earn their living by pseudo fortune-telling with twigs, valuable personal items, or money.
Be vigilant. Do not be fooled by such cheap tricks even if the false fortune-teller tries to convince you that they can save you from financial collapse or something worse. Most likely, she will simply steal your money or valuables, skillfully substituting them with fakes. And in the case of the twigs and other nonsense, she will simply try to get as much money out of you as possible for her very dubious services.
If you visit a different city or a foreign country, it is advisable to book a transfer in advance with a trusted company. But if this has not been prearranged, use public transport (metro, trams, buses), or book a taxi with a large company that tells you the fees before the trip.
Do not trust private cabbies as they can overcharge or deliberately take you on the longest possible route.
Nevertheless, you should keep your guard up on all forms of private and public transport. The driver might give you your change in the local currency, and it can be worth a lot less than the dollars or euros that you paid with. Be careful.
Such crooks can be found in small shops or street tents with souvenirs. The dishonest seller will be doing multiple things at the same time: talking on the phone, bargaining with 3 customers, taking money, and giving change. And in the process, he can write down your credit card information if you decide to pay with a card. Or he’ll just give you less change, hoping that he managed to distract you.
Another situation is possible: when one vendor captures your attention with a conversation, the other charges you and either finds out your card information or gives less change than he has to.
When you buy tickets to the theatre, to a concert, to a museum, or anywhere else from street vendors, there is a good chance that the ticket will turn out to be fake. Even if the ticket is real, you might pay a much higher price for it than you would if you bought it officially.
It is better to purchase tickets at official ticket offices or from the website of the company.
When you stay at a hotel, someone might call your room and, after introducing themselves as a member of the guest service team, ask for your credit card details to pay for services.
Never give this information to anyone. If you are insistently pushed to do so, tell them that you don’t mind going down to reception and paying for the services in person. Most likely, the scammer will back off.
It is also worth noting that in decent hotels payment is made at the time of departure when you hand over the room keys.
Sometimes tourists prefer not to stay in hotels but to rent apartments or even entire houses. There is a high probability that the owner of the property will try to make you pay a huge additional charge for “damaging property.”
To prevent this, sign an agreement with the owner of the apartment before moving in, which will stipulate all the information about damage to property and any additional fees.
This method is very common in warmer countries where tourists live not in the main building of the hotel but in bungalows. Scammers get acquainted with you, and you have fun together for a few evenings. Then one day they will find out the exact time you will be away from your room, and they break in. As a result, you risk losing all your money and valuables.
To avoid this, you should choose hotel rooms or bungalows that have a safe in them. And try not to reveal too much information about your vacation plans to unfamiliar people.
A very frightened or puzzled person may approach you on the street. He will ask you to let him make a call because he lost his phone, or he might tell you that he was robbed. As a result, the call will cost you a fortune. The swindler will simply call a prepared number, and you will be charged a ton of money for this “conversation.” And this money is most likely going to the thief’s account.
To save your money, use plans that do not allow you to have a negative balance. If you lose or lend your phone, you lose the funds that were on your account, but at least you will not have a huge debt to deal with.
Of course, this list can be continued. And we suggest doing so. Tell us about the tricks you know. Which of them have you encountered in your travels?
Illustrated by Natalia Breeva for BrightSide.me