10 Travel Scams To Avoid By Being Extra Cautious
We are surrounded by strangers who are the scammers masked up. They are everywhere and are always on the lookout for their next prey. Scamming innocent people is easy money. Unless you are very clever and attentive, there is a high possibility that their devilish tricks will scam you. The easiest prey for scammers is the tourists because they have little and sometimes no idea about the place and how things work. They believe what the locals tell them, thinking they know better.
Overcharging For Cab
It usually happens that when you are in a foreign land, the taxi drivers ask for very high prices to drop you at your destination. This happens because they are aware that you are new to the place and need to learn about the distance and how much cost the locals pay for covering the same route. Suppose you took a Spiti Valley Tour Package, and now you have to take a cab to move around, and the cab driver asks for sky-high prices, but you are compelled to pay because you need more knowledge and information. To overcharge you, they may also take a longer route to increase fares. It seems these cab drivers have a radar where they can track tourists they can scam.
To avoid being scammed by these drivers, try booking an Uber. Uber is the best choice when you are clueless about the prices and don’t want to be overcharged for your ride. When the drivers know they are being tracked, they don’t pull out their tricks because they know they won’t be successful. However, if, for any reason, you are unable to book an Uber and have to take a taxi standing on the side of the road, do not forget to ask your hotel about the distance and how much the taxi should cost you. Once you have the idea, you can easily negotiate with the driver and avoid paying extra bucks.
Free Bracelets & Stuff
It is quite a common practice in Europe and Asia that random strangers may place a bracelet on your hands and ask for money. You have to be very careful of these people; once they place it in your hands, they will start asking for money, thinking you will give in to their begging and will definitely give them money.
In India, if you visit a dargah, you may find a man; standing with a bunch of Peacock feathers and will try to touch you with the feathers like he is giving some kind of blessing and then ask you for money. This is a trick that the locals use to scam you for money.
You may often run into fake monks who will stop you and try to engage you in different conversations, and then, in a very subtle way, they will sell you books or something else and ask for money. This is currently the trending scam because you won’t even notice that something is fishy about it, and in no time, you will find yourself buying an unnecessary book that is going to be covered under a pile of dust on your bookshelf.
Avoid talking to strangers who approach you, especially these fake monks. Actual monks hardly talk to people, let alone talk to random strangers.
Lost Wallet And All My Money
If we were to give an award to the “Best Scam Ever”, then this would be it. You will find a random stranger who is very well dressed, well groomed, holding a bag, and pretending to be a tourist in a foreign land who has lost his wallet, phone and sometimes even his passport and is completely helpless. He will approach you and ask for help, and he is not like any regular beggar. You will think of him as a genuine person in need of help, and you will definitely try to help him, and that would be one mistake you will regret later. These scammers dress up for their perfect scam so that no one can even catch them in a lie. You would think of him as a fellow tourist who needs help, and if you were in his situation, you would have wanted to help him too. So you might give him money or your phone to make a call, and there is a high possibility that he will run away with your phone, and by the time you understand what has happened, he will be far gone.
Thus, it is essential to maintain distance from people who try to approach you and ask you for things.
Beware of Pickpockets
The most common scam that happens around the world is pickpocketing. These very clever pickpockets put their hands in your pocket and take everything inside, and you wouldn’t even realise it until you put your hands there. It is advisable to keep all the valuables in your bag and not your pockets, and try carrying your bag on your chest instead of your back. By carrying your bag in the front, you save yourself from pickpockets, who can very cleverly take advantage of the crowd and steal things from behind.
Fake Travel Agents
You may receive random calls from people pretending to be travel agents trying to sell you Bir, Ladakh packages or some other place that might catch your attention. The moment you start showing interest in their offer, they will give you deals you wouldn’t believe. They may convince you to buy the package, and once you transfer the amount, you will never hear from them again. This is very similar to Lakshmi Chit Fund from the movie Hera Pheri. You found it funny back then; well, it wouldn’t be once something similar happened to you. So be careful and wise enough not to trust travel agents or travel agencies without doing a thorough background check of the company.
Currency Exchange Scams
Currency Exchange Scams are pretty common because using a different currency requires a little more effort than usual because every time someone gives back some change, you have to check the notes, unlike in your own country where you recognise the notes from their colour. You might come across someone who claims that he can exchange currencies, and you would fall into their trap only to get fake currencies. It is better if you only exchange currencies from trusted institutions and not random people.
Flirtatious Locals Trying To Fool You Into Buying Them Food
One of my friends went on a trip to a foreign land and decided to go to the bar. He found a very attractive woman who came towards him and started flirting with him. My friend, an average-looking guy, couldn’t believe he would be lucky enough to catch the attention of someone so stunningly beautiful. She danced with him, had lots of drinks, had a fun evening, and suddenly disappeared, leaving my friend with a hefty bill. Being extra cautious is required because bad people exist who take advantage of others, and these people are everywhere you go. Be wise enough to understand that if a girl never approached you in 27 years of your existence, chances are it will never happen to you, so don’t be fooled. As people say, if it seems too good to be true, it probably is.
Your Attraction Is Closed For Lunch
There is a possibility that upon reaching your destination, you may find something weird, like no crowd or someone telling you that the attraction is closed for Lunch. Such absurd things can only come out of the mouth of someone who is trying to scam you. There is no such thing as an attraction being closed for lunch. It’s not a bank!
They might tell you that the attraction is closed and they can take you to a better place and charge you lots of money for taking you there.
It is better that you pre-book the tickets and check online if the attraction is open or not. Do this before leaving the hotel so that you have more clarity than these scammers think.
Drug Deal Gone Bad
Go with the flow but don’t go down to the point from which there is no coming back. While walking around the lonely streets with walls covered in graffiti, you might come across someone trying to sell you drugs. You may even fall for the trap and feel compelled to buy drugs and end up buying them from the guy. The minute you hand out the money and take the drugs, you find that it was a sting operation which led you behind bars.
So be careful and make sure you don’t buy or do anything illegal that may land you in trouble.
There are plenty of other scams that are happening around the world that we are not aware of, and there are plenty of them that are going to happen in the near future. Still, the best way to avoid them is by having suspicion whenever something unusual happens. You have every right to have doubts about those who are being extra friendly, extra helpful and extra nice to you because the truth is no one cares, and hardly anyone goes out of their way to help you. It’s very rare if that happens. Be wise enough to do a thorough background check of travel agencies, smart enough to know that every person who approaches you has his own personal gain from you.
Do not be a part of any illegal activity, and don’t believe what people say. More importantly, don’t give out money to help out anyone, and be smart enough to understand that you have to be very cautious even if that makes you sound a little “Extra” in front of others.