Are you planning a trip this Summer? While it’s an exciting time to explore new places and cultures, it’s also important to be aware of the potential scams while you’re away. As a tourist, you are often more vulnerable to being scammed due to your unfamiliarity with the area and your need for assistance. Scammers often cheat tourists out of their money in various ways. Check out our list of 40 common tourist scams to become more alert and avoid this Summer!
40 Tourist Scams to Avoid This Summer
Let’s get into the details of the top 40 tourist scams to avoid this Summer:
1- Ring Drop Scam
Be careful if a woman drops a ring before you and asks if you dropped it. It could be a scam! She will then inspect the ring and claim it’s made of real gold, even if it isn’t. Afterward, she will offer to sell it to you at an inflated price much higher than its actual value. Don’t fall for it! Politely decline the offer and walk away.
2- Rose Scam
When you’re on holiday with your girlfriend, be on the lookout for the Rose Scam! A man will approach you and offer your girlfriend a rose, which may seem romantic. However, he will demand excessive money for the rose and make you feel like a bad boyfriend if you refuse to pay. Don’t fall for this scam! Politely decline the rose and walk away. Remember, you don’t need to buy someone’s affection with an overpriced flower.
3- Street Performance Scam
If you see a man performing a game or a magic trick on the street, it could be a scam! The performer will have a group of accomplices disguised as tourists watching his show to make it seem more genuine. While you’re watching the performance, his accomplices will pickpocket you. Don’t let your guard down! If you see a street performance, enjoy it from a safe distance and keep your belongings close to you.
4- Baby Throw Scam
Be cautious if a woman walks up to you and throws a baby (usually a doll) into your arms. It could be a scam! While you’re in shock and your hands are occupied holding the baby, her accomplices will use the opportunity to pickpocket you or go through your bag. Don’t fall for it! Quickly put the baby back in her arms and walk away.
5- Empty Wallet Scam
Watch out for the Empty Wallet Scam! Scammers will place an empty wallet on the ground that looks like it’s been stolen and dumped. Walking past it, you instinctively check your wallet to ensure it’s safe. However, an onlooker will note where you checked for your wallet and will know exactly where to pickpocket you later. Don’t fall for this trick! If you see an empty wallet on the ground, leave it and keep walking.
6- Shoe Shine Scam
Scammers will drop their shoe brush, and when you pick it up for them, they will thank you by shining your shoes. But what seems like a free gesture turns into a scam when they demand money for the service. Don’t fall for this trap! If someone tries to shine your shoes without your permission, politely decline and walk away.
7- Rosemary Fortune Teller
Another one on the list of the 40 tourist scams to avoid this Summer is Rosemary Fortune Teller. An older woman will approach you with a friendly offer of a sprig of rosemary, which is supposed to symbolize friendship. She may even try to read your fortune while holding your hand. However, as soon as the fortune-telling is done, she will demand payment for her services.
If you refuse, she can quickly become aggressive and start cursing you and your family, which can be scary. So be sure to decline her offer or agree on a price beforehand to avoid unpleasant situations.
8- Jacket Stain Scam
Scammers purposely spill something on your jacket, like ketchup or fake bird poop, and then offer to help clean it. When they get their hands on your jacket to wipe it clean, they steal whatever’s in their pockets. If someone spills something on your jacket, decline their offer to help and clean it yourself.
9- Photographer Scam
Beware of the helpful stranger offering to take your picture! While it may seem like a kind gesture, it could become a scam. The stranger may ask for payment for their photography skills, or they may make off with your camera or phone while you’re posing for the perfect shot. It’s always a good idea to be cautious and aware of your surroundings when asking for help from strangers.
10- Free CD Scam
As you explore the streets this Summer, watch out for friendly strangers offering free CDs. They may seem nice, but they’re part of a scam. These people will try to hand you their CD and ask you to play it in your hometown. Once you take the CD, they’ll demand payment, and if you refuse, they may intimidate or even threaten you until you pay up. Don’t fall for this trick – politely decline the CD and keep walking.
11- Drug Deal Scam
When you’re out in a new place at night, be careful of taxi drivers or tuk-tuk drivers offering drugs. They might seem friendly but could set you up for a scam. Sometimes, a fake police officer suddenly appears and accuses you of breaking the law. They’ll demand a big fine to let you go free. Don’t fall for it! Just say no to drugs and be aware of your surroundings. Stick to trusted transportation and avoid any situation that seems suspicious.
12- Taxi Scam
Some taxi drivers might trick you into paying more than you should when traveling to new places. They might take a longer route, go through side streets, or take a route with heavy traffic to increase the fare. Some even have altered meters that charge you more than usual. Knowing the route and fare beforehand is important, as using reputable taxi companies whenever possible.
13- Luggage Theft
When traveling between cities, people might offer incredibly cheap overnight bus travel. It might seem like a great deal, but be careful – these scammers are after more than just your fare. They might rummage through the bags in the luggage compartment and steal any valuable items. To avoid this scam, stick to reputable bus companies, and keep your valuables on the bus.
14- Change Switch Scam
Some dishonest people might try to shortchange you when you’re shopping or dining out during your travels. Taxi drivers, waiters, and shopkeepers might “accidentally” drop your change and pick up similar-looking but less valuable coins or notes instead. To avoid this scam, count your change carefully, and don’t let anyone take it from you until you’re sure it’s correct. If you need more clarification, ask for your change again and double-check.
15- Punctured Tyre
If you’re hiring a car during your travels, be conscious that scammers might try to take advantage of you. They might puncture your tire on purpose, then flag you down and offer to help replace it for free. While you’re distracted, you might rummage through your car and steal any valuables. To avoid this scam, be cautious about accepting help from strangers, and keep your valuables with you or out of sight.
16- Train Pickpockets
When traveling on busy trains, be aware of pickpockets that might try to steal from you. As people stand close together, it can be easy for them to go through your pockets or bag without you even noticing.
To avoid this scam, keep your valuables in a secure place, such as a backpack or purse that you can keep close to your body. Keep an eye out for suspicious behavior and immediately report any theft or attempted theft to the authorities.
17- Gateway Taxi Driver
Beware of taxi drivers who rush off after unloading your luggage at your hotel! They might have left one of your bags in their taxi, and you will realize it when it’s too late. These sneaky drivers will exploit your jet-lagged state and eagerness to settle in your hotel. To avoid this scam, keep track of all your bags and double-check that you have them before the taxi driver leaves.
18- Credit Card Scam
During your summer trip, be careful when you pay for your shopping items. Some cashiers may pretend to be on the phone while serving you, but they take a photo of your credit card. It can lead to them replicating your card later and using it to make purchases without your knowledge.
19- Slow Change Counting Scam
When paying for items in a store, some cashiers will count out your change slowly and take pauses to make you think they’re having trouble counting. They’re trying to confuse you and hope you’ll lose patience and accept less money than you owe. Always count your change carefully; ask the cashier to count it again if unsure. Don’t let them rush you or pressure you into accepting less money.
20- Friendly Tuk-Tuk Driver
While traveling by tuk-tuk, drivers may try to take you to a different location by saying your desired destination is closed. When you reach the suggested place, a friendly man may approach you and talk about buying precious gemstones or carpets at a low price, which can be sold for a higher profit in your home country.
Stay aware of their trap, as the jewelry or gemstones can turn out fake or low-quality, and you may lose money instead of making a profit. Always research and visit authorized shops for any purchase.
21- Fake Doctor Document
Be wary of anyone approaching you, offering to sell fake doctor documents for insurance claims. They may promise you’ll make much more money, but it’s a scam. Insurance companies know this trick and won’t pay out on fraudulent claims. Don’t fall for this scam; always ensure genuine and legitimate insurance coverage.
22- Fake Policeman
Some scammers pretend to be police officers and target unsuspecting tourists. They will approach you and say there has been a problem with counterfeit money in the area. They will ask to see your wallet and check the money inside. However, when they return your wallet, some money will be missing!
They may also demand to see your passport or visa and pretend an issue needs to be resolved by paying a fine. Remember, always ask for official identification and never hand over your belongings or money to anyone claiming to be a police officer without verifying their identity first.
23- Fake Ticket
If you’re waiting in line for a ticket, someone may approach you offering to sell you faster or better tickets at a higher price. However, these tickets are likely fake and won’t work. Don’t fall for this trick; stick to the official ticket office to avoid getting scammed.
24- Kind-Hearted Helper Scam
When you’re struggling to use a cash machine or ticket machine in a foreign country, a friendly-looking local may offer to help you. They may even speak your language and seem trustworthy. However, they are not always what they seem! Some of these “helpers” are scammers trying to steal from you.
While they’re “helping” you, they may memorize your pin code to use later when they pickpocket you. They may also grab your cash and run off with it. Be careful and always try to use machines in busy, well-lit areas.
25- Map Scam
When you’re exploring a new city and looking lost, people may come up to you and offer to sell you a map. Although it may seem helpful, be careful! These scammers use this to distract you while their accomplice pickpockets you. They will unfold the map in your face, making it hard for you to keep an eye on your belongings.
26- Beggars Scam
Be careful when giving money to beggars who approach you on the street. Scammers may use a sad story or a fake injury to guilt you into giving them money, and someone else may be nearby watching to see where you keep your wallet or purse. These pickpockets will use the distraction created by the beggar to steal your belongings. Always be aware of your surroundings and keep your valuables secure when out and about.
27- Beach Massage Scam
A man may approach you while enjoying the beaches point and offer you a free massage. However, it may seem like a good deal; beware! Once he starts massaging you, he may not stop until he has finished and demands a high payment for his services.
Even if you say no, he may pester you for money. It’s best to decline any massage offers by people you don’t know and stick to licensed and reputable establishments for your relaxation needs.
28- Flirt Scam
The attractive stranger or flirt scam is a scam to watch out for when traveling alone. This scam involves an attractive woman approaching a lone male traveler and starting to flirt with him.
She may suggest going to a bar or nightclub together, and at the end of the night, the bill will be much higher than expected. This scam preys on the victim’s loneliness and desire for companionship, so it’s important to be cautious and not let your guard down, especially with strangers.
29- Helpful Pickpockets Scam
Be wary of strangers offering to help you, especially in busy tourist areas. Some pickpockets pretend to be helpful locals and warn you about pickpocketing in the area, but in reality, they’re just trying to see where you keep your valuables. Once they know, they will attempt to pickpocket you later.
They may also put up pickpocket warning signs around the area to lure unsuspecting tourists. Keep your guard up, and if someone approaches you, politely decline their offer and keep your valuables secure.
30- Broken Camera Scam
Be wary of strangers asking you to take their photo, as it could be a trap. Scammers may approach you and request a photo but then claim that the camera isn’t working and ask you to take it to a nearby repair shop. While you’re distracted, they may drop the camera and demand you pay for the repairs or use the confusion to pickpocket you.
31- Friendly English-Speaking Girls
Beware if you’re approached by a friendly group of girls asking to practice their English with you! These scammers often start with an innocent conversation but quickly turn it into a sob story and ask for money. They may also invite you to their favorite cafe to return the favor. However, when the bill comes, it will be incredibly overpriced, and the girls will disappear.
32- Peanut Scam
A man may approach you while sitting at a table and offer you peanuts by pouring them on the table. But as soon as you touch one, he will demand payment. Don’t be fooled by the seemingly friendly gesture – this is a scam to get money from unsuspecting tourists.
33- Letter-Writing Scam
A common scam that you might encounter while traveling is the letter-writing scam. A child or a group of children will approach you, and one of them will offer you a postcard and a pen and ask you to help them write a letter to their family back home. They often tell you a sob story about their poverty and difficult living conditions, trying to evoke sympathy and guilt. Once you agree to help, they will ask for money, claiming they need it to send the letter.
34- Fake Charity Petition Scam
A common scam targeting tourists involves children, sometimes pretending to be deaf, asking for signatures and donations for a fake charity. They will show you a petition, and while you’re distracted reading it, they will try to pickpocket you.
35- Gypsy Children Scam
While you enjoy your vacation, a group of Gypsy children may surround you in the street, trying to sell you newspapers or beg for money. They may act aggressively and won’t leave you alone until you give them some cash or valuables. Beware; they may also use distraction techniques, such as opening up newspapers to take advantage of and pickpocket you.
36- Hotel Room Inspectors Scam
One of the 40 common tourist scams to avoid this Summer involves fake hotel employees knocking on your door and asking to inspect your room for routine maintenance. While one person engages you in conversation, the other sneaks in and steals your valuables. Always verify with the hotel’s front desk before letting anyone into your room, and always keep your valuables in a safe or with you.
37- Hotel Phone Scam
Scammers pretending to be hotel employees will call your room in the middle of the night and tell you that there is an issue with your credit card. They will then ask you to confirm your credit card details over the phone. These scammers take advantage of the fact that you may be disoriented or groggy from sleep and may not think to go to the front desk in person to deal with the issue.
38- Fake Hotel Scam
Some taxi drivers may try to scam tourists by claiming that their intended hotel is closed for refurbishment or no longer exists. They will then suggest another overpriced hotel in a poor location. In some cases, these hotels will even copy the names and photos of well-known hotels to deceive tourists. It’s important to double-check your hotel’s details and location before getting into a taxi to avoid this scam.
39- Fake Takeaway Menus
When staying in a hotel, be careful of takeaway menus under your door. Some scam artists use fake menus to deceive you into giving away your credit card details. They hope you will order from them on a lazy evening.
Instead, they use your card information to make their copy. It means you won’t receive food but a surprise bank statement full of unauthorized transactions. Be sure to only order from trusted sources and be wary of unsolicited menus.
40- Friendship Bracelet Scam
While exploring tourist destinations, you may find someone offering you a friendship bracelet. However, it may seem like a sweet gesture, be cautious! The scam artist will attempt to tie the bracelet to your wrist and then demand payment. Sometimes, they will even use the opportunity to distract you while their accomplice pickpockets your valuables. So, be aware and don’t accept friendship bracelets from strangers!
Awareness of 40 common tourist scams is essential to avoid this Summer when traveling to a new destination. By knowing what to look out for and how to protect yourself, you can enjoy your holiday without falling victim to scammers. Always be cautious of strangers offering unsolicited help or deals that seem too good to be true, and trust your instincts. Remember, prevention is always better than cure regarding tourist scams.
FAQs about 40 Tourist Scams to Avoid This Summer
Research beforehand is one of the best ways to avoid scams while traveling. Know what common scams are in the area you’re visiting and be aware of any red flags. Also, be cautious of unsolicited offers, and never give out personal or financial information to strangers.
If you’ve been scammed while on vacation, report the incident to the local authorities and your embassy or consulate. Also, immediately contact your bank or credit card company to cancel any affected cards and dispute fraudulent charges.
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