Tourists are more vulnerable to scams by shady individuals, and if one is not cautious, you are caught unaware. When we are unsuspecting to impending danger, there are situations we think we are smart enough to be trapped. It happens to the best of us, I included! Today we discuss how to identify scams to enhance our travel experience. Scams come in a variety, including excessive charges over cab rides or exposing private information such as passwords. Scams are all over the world, and you can’t tell the time and place it will happen.
Major scams to avoid in 2021
I can affirm that getting scammed, especially in a foreign land, is the worst experience you have when traveling. I have accompanied the most common scams with personal experiences for over 9 years. The earlier you know them, the better, so you stay on guard.
• Fake police officers
In this situation, a scammer will approach and offer you something illegal in that state. In the process of exchanging words, authorities appear from nowhere and intrude. The foreigner is asked to hand over their travel documents.
Experience: not yet a victim for this one
Avoid at all cost handling your travel documents to strangers. If they insist on being police, request official identification and a call to the police to confirm they are not impersonating. Another option would be lying to them your documents are in your hotel room. To acquire them, they have to walk you back to the hotel. If they are not comfortable, kindly walk away and fast.
• Spills on clothing
As a traveler, you will be walking down a street, and then suddenly, something falls on your shoulder. After, a volunteer offers to wipe the poop or condiment off your clothing. In the process, your wallet is removed from your pocket without you noticing. It is popular in Europe.
Experience: never happened to me
Find a restroom and wash the irritating mess yourself. Do not let the friendly stranger help you.
• Broken meter
When you get to a taxi, the driver might inform you that the meter is broken to take advantage and charge you unfairly. Some cab drivers will be silent about the issue until you get to the destination, and this scam happens most with drivers at airports and train stations.
Experience: there have been around ten attempts for this one. I fell for it once in my first year and learned my lesson
Check if the meter is working before entering a cab where the driver refuses to confirm or try to persuade you to pay without it meter opt-out and find a better driver.
• Closed and overbooked scams
In this scam, cab drivers are the role players. The cab driver cunningly informs you that your hotel is closed or overbooked and takes you to a preferably better hotel where you will be charged highly, and they get a commission from the same.
Experience: I have encountered similar cases where I was told it is closed or it’s a bad one but was never trapped
Make a booking in hotels in advance and schedule for pickup where applicable. Insist in getting to a hotel if the driver tries to divert you, even if you don’t have a reservation.
• Closed sites
You are dying to visit a certain tourist attraction site, and a person walks up to you and informs you that the site is closed, citing several reasons. They suggest you visit a different place where you either pay a high entry fee or are pressured to buy items.
Experience: happened to me in Mexico. A local man approached and enquired about my travels. Upon telling him, he informed me that the hammock shop was closed and suggested I visit another shop nearby. I expressed gratitude, ignored the information, and found the hammock wide open.
Listen and thank informers but only believe by seeing. Confirm from several sources when you must.