9 Common Travel Scams & Tips to Avoid Them

common travel scams

Let’s be true to yourself. We all don’t know what region has what kind of scam to perform. It varies from country to country, city to city. 

And that is the reason you are here to know the travel scams which you can find on your trip and how you can avoid them so that you can enjoy the tour.

Tourist scams are common all around the world, and scammers know whom to target. It can be you or your friends.  

No one can ensure that you will not get scammed during your journey, but what we can do is tell you the popular common travel scams and tips to sense and avoid them.

And one more thing, we are not going to scam your mind here in this article, so keep it open.

List of Common Travel Scams

Here’s the list of 9 universal travel scams:

  1. Taxi Scams
  2. Beggar Scams
  3. Accessories Scams
  4. Take & Run away Scams
  5. Short Change Scams
  6. Free Wifi Scams
  7. Fake Officials Scams
  8. ATM Skimmer Scams
  9. Fake Memento Scams

1. Taxi Scams: Overcharged Ride & Closed Hotel

taxis on roads

One thing is certain after taking the exit from the airport or railway station, you will need a cab to reach your destination hotel. And this is where you can get trapped in taxi scam(s).

You walk to a taxi or it comes to you; you tell the driver your hotel address, and like an omniscient, he says it is closed.

He offers to take you to a better hotel and this will be the hotel of his friend or relative or from where he will earn the commission, and this is the accommodation where you will get charged more.

The taxi driver can also overcharge for the ride you took.

How to avoid:

See the timing of open hours for your hotel on the internet, and you can also google the routes and distance to your destination.

Also, ask the locals how much the fare is.

2. Beggar Scams: Buy Some Milk for my Child, Please!

beggars sitting on road

We know that hunger is one of the biggest problems the world is facing right now. But, many people don’t feel ashamed about using hunger as a part of their scam tactics.

They come to you and ask for milk, food, or any other edible; you buy it for them and go away. Later, they sell the same stuff to the shopkeeper and get money for that.

Translation: They or their children weren’t hungry, you got scammed.

This begging-type scam has many variants. Like scammers can ask you to buy medicines for their injured or sick child/children.

How to avoid: 

If you think that your money should go into the right hands, then give it to a charity.

3. Accessories Scams: See, It’s looking good on you!

woman showing jewelry

Scammers come with some accessories like a bracelet or a neck chain, forcefully they put them on you before you say no to them, and then refuse to take them back.

And then they asked for money.

How to avoid:

Immediately take the accessories off your body and handle them back before they argue with you and go away from them.

4. Take and Run away Scams: There is something on your clothes

a guy running over stairs

A guy will come to you and say what is there on your back?

You will try to look at it, and put your stuff on the ground and the next second, your stuff will be in their hands and they will be far away from you.

Another scam (particularly in India) includes a guy dropping animal poop on your shoes and offering you help to get it cleaned off. Either he does it or takes you to his friend.

And at the end of their service, they will charge a good amount from you.

How to avoid: 

If there is something on your back, go away from those people and then check it by yourself. And if it is a poop scam, then beware of the people around you, don’t let them get too close.

5. Short Change Scams: Receiving Short Change

hands exchanging currencies

From taxi drivers to shopkeepers, anyone can do this scam. You give them money in your or their currency and they give you change which is often short by some amount.

How to avoid:

  • You should know exchange rates or you can use any currency converter.
  • Keep an idea of what local currency looks like.
  • And don’t feel embarrassed to count your change in front of people.

6. Free Wifi Scams: Enjoy Free Wifi By Keeping Everything at Stake

board saying free wifi

Who, on the planet earth, doesn’t need things and services for free? This is our comfort zone, right?

And this is the fact that scammers know too. Maybe somewhere you find free wifi and connect your phone to it and start using it without knowing that your data can get stolen.

How to avoid:

Don’t connect your phone to any random wifi service and the best thing to do is to use your mobile data by purchasing a travel sim card.

7. Fake Officials Scams: Show me Your ID

photos and id cards

This scam is so common around the world. 

A man in uniform (generally) comes to you and tells you to show your travel documents, and more often than not, your ID.

They take it into their hands and ask for money or a bribe to return it to you.

How to avoid:

  • Ask them to show their ID card.
  • Tell them you will be happy to show the documents to the police station.
  • Show the document(s) to them but don’t handle them.

8. ATM Skimmer Scams

man covering ATM pin-entering screen

Scammers attach the ATM skimmer to the original ATM and a camera pointed at the number pad.

You swipe your card through the machine and the skimmer records the ATM and the relevant banking information, and the installed camera captures the PIN when you press the buttons on the number pad.

How to avoid:

Check for ATM skimmers before using the ATM, and cover the number pad while giving your PIN.

9. Fake Memento Scams

colorful artworks

We all want to make our trip memorable, and the best way to do it is to buy souvenirs.

We purchase handicrafts and other handmade traditional items to keep them in our house as a memory.

But, do we know if they are really the original ones or mass-produced somewhere else, probably in a factory? 

How to avoid: 

  • Do a bit of research about your destination and its tradition.
  • Visit craftspeople and local artisans to buy authentic stuff.
  • Ask local people what and where they advise you to buy.

Want Specific Tips for Traveling in India? Read our article about India Travel Tips

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