Do Not Fall For These 5 Common Travel Scams 

From free goods to fake gifts and fake cabbies, these scam patterns are common worldwide among scam artists. Here's how you can avoid falling for these traps
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Scam artists, thieves and pickpockets often see tourists as a soft target. Travel scam is a serious problem every tourist has to be aware of. We usually tend to think that it's only the clueless ones who get scammed. However, scam artists tend to get more and more creative with time and are able to trick even experienced travellers. 

These tourist scams take place all over the world and it's important to always exercise caution. In order to navigate your way safely across situations as they arise, you need to know what are the common travel scams that exist. Check out our list of 5 common travel scams and how to avoid them. 

1. Avoid Free Gifts

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It's not uncommon to encounter people who appear to be offering gifts - a man dressed as a priest extends a sacred offering to you, a stranger giving you a twig of rosemary, a woman offering you henna or flowers, or even a person with a disability handing you a pack of tissues. However, it's essential to be cautious and aware that these so-called gift-givers are often scam artists who only want your money. If you refuse their gifts, they may create a scene to pressure you into giving them money.

How To Avoid: Never accept these unasked gifts from strangers. Try not to even look at them. If they forcefully hand it over to you, return the item and leave.

Sample Destinations: Thailand, Myanmar, Nepal, Cairo, Rome, Kuala Lumpur, and Barcelona.

2. Beware Of Corrupt Cab Drivers

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To extract money from tourists, these corrupt cabbies often lie that the meter is down or broken. Be it a hotel, temple, cafe, or museum, the cab driver will always inform you that the place is overbooked and will take you to his friend's lodging. Apart from charging you a higher fare, they also earn commission through lodging tourists at their friend's place.

How To Avoid: To avoid this never take a cab from the streets. Try to hire a licensed taxi or book through reputed online taxi service apps such as Uber or any other app local to the place. 

Sample Destinations: Egypt, Turkey, Mexico, Thailand, India, Columbia, Ecuador, Argentina, Serbia.

3. Beware Of Planned Accidents

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Scammers often use fake accidents, which usually involve two people. The first person intentionally spills a drink or condiment on an unsuspecting tourist, while the second person comes in to offer a helping hand by cleaning the stain. While cleaning the stain, the second person discreetly steals the victim's wallet. This is a common scam tactic that people should be aware of to avoid falling victim to it.

If you ever face a situation like this make sure to not let anyone touch you and immediately use a restroom to clean yourself up.

How To Avoid: Ensure all of your valuables are secure before you head out. For example, do not keep your wallets in the back pocket or some other place where they are at risk of being pickpocketed. Always be aware of your surroundings.

Sample Destinations: Rome, Istanbul, India, Paris, Buenos Aires, Rio de Janeiro, Egypt, Chile, and Ghana.

4. Fake currency 

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In this case, the place from where you exchange currency can give you fake or counterfeit notes. These scammers, be they cab drivers, waiters, or shop retailers, claim that you paid the bill using counterfeit currency and then switch your original notes for the fake ones.

How To Avoid: Develop a habit of verifying the currency's authenticity. Pay with smaller denominations and try to not be in a hurry during the transaction process. Also don't forget to double check and count the money as you pay. 

Sample Destinations: Columbia, Vietnam, China, Turkey, Egypt, and Argentina.

5. Avoid Unsolicited Help

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You're driving just fine when a driver suddenly stops you to pull over, claiming that you have a problem with your car. You get out, follow his directions, and as a result, you are robbed. A cabbie or a pedestrian approaches you for a train or bus ticket, directing you to a booth selling fake tickets. In this case, their friend runs this fake booth, and they split these profits among themselves. 

How To Avoid: Try to only pull over if you hear a noise or see the emergency light turn on. Even then, if you have to stop, try not to do it in a secluded area rather, choose a commercial area that is busy with cars and people around you. Verify the exact location of the ticket office, not letting anyone tell you otherwise.

Sample Destinations: India, Sicily, Costa Rica, Mexico, South Africa, Columbia, and Britain.

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