Travelers Beware: 10 Common Scams Abroad and How to Avoid Them

3 min. read By eCompareMo on

Traveling should be an enjoyable experience. But there are some risks that come with it too, especially if put your guard down about the go-about of a place. This is where shady people attack their victims. Tricksters are eyeing to victimize travelers who are unfamiliar with the vicinity, luring them with ‘friendliness’ to fall for their traps.

Read: (Why Do I Need Travel Insurance?)

Here are some common travel scams you need to be aware of:

  • Busted Taxi Meter

    Taxi drivers around airports usually pull this scam to foreigners. Once the passenger gets in the car, the driver will tell that the taxi meter is not working and will charge hefty taxi charges.

  • Fully Booked or Closed Hotel

    This instance once again involves shady cab drivers. On the way to the hotel, the driver will say that the hotel is currently fully booked or closed. The driver will drive to a pricier hotel where he receives a commission.

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  • Free Bracelets, Rosary, Amulets

    A friendly stranger will approach travelers and will give a lucky bracelet, rosary, or amulet for ‘free’. When the tourist accepts the ‘gift’, the stranger will demand a payment for the item. If you refuse to pay, he/she will create a scene.

    Read: (Speak Like A Local On Your Next Travel With This Guide To Common Foreign Phrases)

  • Pickpocket

    Scam artists have different techniques to pluck out your wallet. A common distraction is a spilled coffee or sauce. A stranger will approach to say you have spilled on your clothing and will act kindly wiping the trickles off you. While you are distracted, an accomplice is already working his way to take your money from your bag or pocket.

  • Injured Children or Beggars

    Children, women carrying infants, blind man/woman assisted by a helper will beg for alms. Most of them are part of a modus operandi operated by gangs who use sympathy as a way to collate money. Some beggars pickpocket tourists too.

  • Group Shot Offer

    A friendly stranger approaches, volunteering to take a photo. As the tourists are getting ready for the photo, the stranger is already gone with the gadget.

    Read: (Know Your Rights As An Airline Passenger When Traveling Here And Abroad)

  • Flirtatious Locals

    Tourists come to a party and some local men/women approaches and get flirty on a bar. After a great night, the woman/man disappears. Now the tourists are forced to pay overpriced bills. Worse, tourists are drugged and get robbed.

  • Gemstone Cheat

    Tourists will be approached by a local man saying that he is selling precious stones and jewelry that are worth a fortune when sold in other countries. But these items are faux.

  • Policemen Fraud

    Some policemen fool tourists that they have committed a violation and demand bribes. Some locals just dress up and pretend to be cops.

  • Fake Wi-Fi Hubs

    Some places have no internet connection so some locals take advantage of this. They provide “free” Wi-Fi connection. But once you connect, they get access to your personal information to access your bank account.

How to Get Rid of Scammers

Maintain a healthy amount of cynicism. Probe the stranger you are talking to first and foremost. To be safe, make transactions on safe establishments like malls.

Know your facts. Before traveling to a certain place, do your research first. Read travel blogs to know their experiences on a place and to check for any words of warning.

Do not be too friendly. Be vigilant about your surroundings, especially to the people who you are talking to.

Keep an eye on your valuables at all times. It’s important that you stay on your guard particularly on your money, gadgets, and passport.

About the author

eCompareMo

eCompareMo eCompareMo is the No. 1 financial e-commerce site in the Philippines. Follow us on Twitter and Instagram: @ecomparemo.