Travel Scams and Swindlers

Discussion in 'General Discussion | Travel' started by sobore, Mar 22, 2011.  |  Print Topic

  1. sobore
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    sobore Gold Member

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    Report them here.

    1. Money Changing "Errors"

    The scams: Travel guides say the most common European travel scam is being overcharged by a taxi cab driver. Don't exempt American cab drivers either -- they have been known to take a $100 and then try to convince their customer it was only a $1.
    Cashiers in high tourist districts flourish on a scam known as the "slow count." They count change in between long confusing pauses, hoping you'll just grab the (incorrect) stash and take off. Even bank tellers have been known to do this.
    The solution: Familiarize yourself with the currency when traveling abroad and pay attention to ensure correct change. Be patient when accepting change.

    2. Begging

    The scams: A skinny child wearing ragged clothing asks you for money for food. Sometimes they tell you a heart-wrenching story about how they came to be starving.
    One couple vacationing in France told of meeting a girl who began her scam by asking them if they spoke English. She handed them a letter from a "relative." It explained her father was dead and her mother was in the hospital -- could they spare some money to help?
    Then the couple noticed the note was photocopied. They gave her no money. A day later they saw a different child carrying the same note.
    The solution: In some countries, begging is run as an organized business. Children are used to collect cash for a ringleader. The child often receives very little benefit herself. If you feel softhearted towards a child that looks hungry, offer her food instead.

    3. The "Valuable" Item Scam

    The scams: A stranger asks for directions and then thanks you with a valuable gift, an expensive leather jacket or some other precious item. Before leaving, your new "friend" asks you if he can borrow $100. The gift turns out to be worthless.
    A vendor makes a friendship bracelet right on your arm as part of a demonstration. When you can't remove it, you feel obligated to pay for it.
    A stranger finds a valuable ring on the ground in front of you and offers to sell it to you. The ring is worthless.
    The solution: These travel scams work by taking advantage of people's greed. Beware of precious item "deals." If something appears too good to be true, it probably is.

    4. Pick Pocketing and Other Diversion Theft

    The scams: You're driving along when suddenly you get a flat tire. A stranger pulls up to help you. While you're working on the tire, a buddy of his secretly relieves your car of its luggage.
    You're walking in a crowd when suddenly a disgusting substance -- like bird poop or ketchup -- splats onto your shirt. A scam artist helps you clean up and helps himself to your wallet at the same time.
    The solution: These travel scams work by diverting your attention away from your valuables and onto something else. Treat any unusual diversion -- a crowd of beggars jostling you, an old woman or child falling down in front of you -- as a pickpocket attempt.
    Check your wallet and other valuables before and during any time you offer help.
     
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  2. jbcarioca
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    jbcarioca Gold Member

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    I'm curious to know how often these things happen. Maybe I am blessed, but only the first one has happened to me, and the last time was in beirut during the 1975 civil war. Then, I thought I had a bargain even getting a taxi at all.
     
  3. milchap
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    milchap Gold Member

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  4. milchap
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    milchap Gold Member

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    This scam I know well. I had been told about it by Parisian friends.
    Last Oct, my wife and I finished a river cruise and spend a few days in Paris. I studied at La Sorbonne and wanted to show my wife my old haunts. I am fluent in French.
    Four times, someone tried this scam and four times I told the person to go to hell in fluent French. I loved their reaction as they did not expect the tourist to speak French with a Parisian accent. :D
     
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