It is truly a beautiful thing to travel. You meet wonderful, caring people while traveling. You also get to experience other cultures and different ways of living. And you gain a greater appreciation for the past. You will still meet people who are just out to make a quick buck.
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It’s not something anyone wants to do before they go on vacation. However, being aware of common scams can save you money and prevent you from getting scammed.
Fraudulent Currency Exchanges
It all starts the same: you arrive at a new place knowing that you will need to exchange your currency. Then, someone approaches you and tells you where the best place to do this. This person will either give you fake bills or demand a high exchange rate.
You will get the most bang for your buck if you only exchange money at banks or trusted locations. Or, order money in advance from your bank home.
A petition scam occurs when someone approaches you on the street or at a tourist site and asks for your signature. After you sign the petition, they will ask for money to support their cause.
Avoid being scammed by signing petitions abroad. It is best to research before you give or support a cause.
This scam involves a child approaching you and offering you jewelry or services. Sometimes, they will even wrap a friendship bracelet around you and demand money.
It is heartbreaking to have a child ask for money from you. But, keep in mind that these children often work for adults who run a ‘business’.
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Never accept a service or product offered by a child. Instead, spend your money somewhere else.
Street vendors that are too expensive
It’s a fact that foreigners will pay more for almost all street vendors’ goods. But that doesn’t mean that you must pay outrageous prices for everything you buy.
You can avoid being scammed out of your hard-earned money by researching the market for similar products and what the locals are willing to pay for them. Do not accept the first price offered by a vendor. Instead, barter as much as possible.
This scam is quite simple. The person will attempt to steal your possessions by distracting you in any way. Usually, they will do this by swarming or causing a scene.
To avoid being swindled by distraction scams, keep your belongings safe and use a zippered, slashproof bag. We always take this anti-theft bag with us on all our trips.
Scams with Taxis
These scams are common and include a taxi driver or tuk-tuk driver who will either take you too far to reach your destination or claim the meter is broken. They will also overcharge you for the ride.
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Download a map to your smartphone before you go to a new destination. Keep track of the route taken by the taxi driver and the distance they are traveling.
Avoid the broken meter scam by not taking a ride in a vehicle equipped with a broken meter or negotiating the price before you go.
The street game gamble is a scam that asks tourists to play cards, dice or cups in exchange for money. It’s common to find it around tourist hot-spots. The game is rigged right from the beginning and the tourist will end up losing their money. Do not engage in street games with people asking for your help.
Scams with Credit Cards
Scams involving credit cards are all too common, but they can be especially stressful if you’re traveling and your card is used as your primary money source. Scams that target credit card holders include scanning their cards for information, tampering at ATM’s, and pretending to be a hotel clerk asking you to verify your credit card details.
Keep your credit cards safe by using RFID-blocking cases. Only use ATM’s that are reputable and banks. Don’t divulge your number to anyone without checking who it is.
This is a tricky scam because it can be difficult to know who to trust. However, the fake photographer scam involves asking for your photo and then demanding money or even taking your camera.
It’s a good rule of thumb to not give your camera to anyone unless they appear to be a traveling professional. They won’t want to take your property if they have one in their possession.
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Everything is Free
You don’t have to accept a free shoehine, neck massage, or flower. Remember that strangers on the streets are not free. These people will change the price of the service or give you the product if they don’t want to pay. Don’t take someone’s offer of a free service as a deal.