Don’t let these 8 travel scams ruin your next vacation

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Wherever you go, there will always be people trying to take advantage of foreign travelers. Unsuspecting tourists easily fall into the traps of shady people and end up getting scammed. Protect yourself from being scammed by a scam that outsmarts scammers, and the first important step is to be aware of common travel scams and ways to avoid them.

1. Photographer’s Travel Scam

Smile! You’ve been lied to.

This type of travel scam isn’t hard to spot, but many travelers still fall for it. There are unscrupulous people who are always looking some quality cameras that they can steal without using force.

How does it work? The scammer will volunteer to film your group and after a few shots, ask you to think of creative poses. By the time you’re done interacting with your group, the nice local has already left with your precious camera.

How to avoid it? The best thing is that take group photos with a tripod (Be sure to place it somewhere safe and stable when taking pictures) so you don’t have to trust your camera to a stranger. Also, avoid shooting in a crowded area, which makes it easier for thieves to blend in with the crowd.

2. Counterfeit tickets or passes Travel scam

How does it work? While I was strolling through a mall in Hong Kong, I came across someone selling Disneyland tickets for half the original price. I bought one, thinking I had saved myself the trouble of lining up. And when I got to Disneyland, the attendant asked me if I bought my ticket from one of the verified resellers. Only then did I realize I had been tricked. In the end, I stood in line for a valid ticket at the normal price and threw away the fake one.

How to avoid it? Always buy tickets and tickets online in advance or look for verified resellers. Sometimes getting tickets online is much cheaper than buying them on the spot. We use GetYourGuide website buy skip-the-line tickets and book tours around the world.

3. Jewelry Travel Scam

Lots of cheap jewelry cluttering up the counter.  This is another common travel scam that you need to know what you're out for.
Unless you are an expert, only buy jewelry and gems from a reputable store.

How does it work? A well-dressed local who speaks good English will trick you into buying gems that you can sell home for double the price of the items he sells you. After you buy from a seller, he will give you a receipt or proof of purchase and a certificate that says the gems you bought are genuine. However, chances are that these gems are all fake, along with the certificate and receipt from the seller. If you paid him $200 for it, those gems are probably worth less than $10.

How to avoid it? Trust your instincts. If you think a deal or offer is too good to be true, it probably is. Politely decline and leave immediately.

For more travel safety tips, read:

4. False fortune tellers Fraud

Tarot cards displayed above the red carpet.
I see a travel scam in your future. lol

How does it work? in the streets of Thailand, someone may approach you saying they can read your palm. Intrigued by the prospect of knowing your future, you’ll say yes. Then the fortune teller will tell you what it reads on your palm. After telling you a series of positive and negative “predictions”, you’ll pay him a lot without knowing you’ve been scammed.

How to avoid it? “Fortune tellers” are con artists who are good at talking and generalizing things, such as predicting your future. The best way to avoid them is to just say no and walk away.

Travel advice.

Don’t forget your travel insurance. You don’t want anything to ruin your trip, do you? So don’t take any risk. Reliable travel insurance can help you with travel issues, from accidents to health problems, travel delays and lost luggage.

There are many insurances on the market, here are our picks HeyMondo! and: SafetyWing:. We used both and always had a good experience. Click on the insurance names to get a quote.

5. Taxi Fraud

A photo of a street in India with several taxis standing in the middle of the road.
Taxi drivers can be your best friend and guide, only a few may want to cheat you.

How does it work? Before dropping you off at your destination, the driver tells you his meter is broken, so you have no choice but to pay an exorbitant flat rate because you don’t know how to navigate the place.

How to avoid it? Before getting into a taxi, check the meter first. If it’s not broken, go ahead and sign in. Also, plan your trip in advance and research about it how to use public transport abroad find safer and cheaper ways to get from one place to another.

6. Liquid S:pills Travel scam

How does it work? Walking along the sidewalk, you are surprised when a man holding a drink suddenly walks into your path and turns, spilling the drink on your shirt. Before you know it, the scammer’s accomplices have already stolen your wallet and other valuables. This is a common scam in South American countries. If you are traveling there, check out these two articles: Is it safe to travel to Mexico City?and: Is Colombia safe for travelers?

How to avoid it? This trick is the perfect way to distract and distract a potential victim by keeping them busy with the spilled liquid. If you’re caught in this situation, it’s best to decline the offer to wipe the stain off your clothes and go somewhere less crowded to check all your valuables and get cleaned up.

7. Motorbike Scam

A man sits on a motorcycle and reads a newspaper.
Motorbike taxis are the easiest way to get around in Southeast Asia, use them but be careful.

How does it work? When I was Philippines, I rented a motorcycle that had a dent on the left side. I assumed the owner already knew about it so I just let it slide. When I returned it, the owner insisted that I be charged for the damage.

How to avoid it? Take pictures of the motorcycle or anything else you’re renting and report any damage to the owner, so when they charge you extra for a damaged item after you’ve used it, you have proof that it wasn’t your fault. .

8. Freebie Scam

A photo of a bracelet with a small elephant on it.
If it’s too good to be true, it could be a travel scam.

How does it work? while walking the streets of Macau, I stumbled upon a group of teenagers handing out free rosaries. Thinking it would be a good reminder, I asked for one. I was caught off guard when I was asked to leave a small donation. I gave a small amount, and when I was about to leave, they asked me if I could donate more. Feeling that they might do something bad to me, I gave them $5 and left.

How to avoid it? Remember that even the smallest piece of souvenir has a price. If you are offered something for free, decline it, as chances are you will be asked to spend more money for a donation or other cause.

Traveling safely involves being aware of potential dangers (including travel scams) and following your heart. If your gut tells you something is probably a scam, go ahead and walk away.

Here are some safety guides we’ve written for destinations around the world, read if you plan to travel to one of them.

Safe travels!

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