Travelling abroad is an exciting adventure, but it can also be a bit scary when you’re not familiar with the place you’re visiting. One of the biggest concerns for international tourists is the possibility of falling prey to such scams.
Losing your passport, money, and phone while abroad can quickly turn your dream holiday into a nightmare.
Here are the most common international tourist scams and tips on how to stay safe.
Fake Gold Ring Or Wallet Scam
One of the most common scams is the fake gold ring or wallet scam. Scammers usually carry out this scam in crowded places such as metros, buses or near stops.
The scammer drops a gold ring or wallet on the ground, and you pick it up and hand it back to them.
They then accuse you of stealing it, and a large crowd gets involved. While you are distracted, your wallet is stolen. To avoid this scam, try to be aware of your surroundings and avoid crowded places.
Asking For Directions Scam
Another popular scam is the asking for directions. A person may approach you when you’re carrying shopping bags and ask for directions while blocking your vision with a big map.
While you’re helping them, someone else will steal your shopping bags. To avoid this scam, be cautious when someone asks for directions and keep your shopping bags close to you.
Friendship Bracelets Scam
The friendship bracelets scam involves a random person tying to tie a bracelet around your wrist in a friendly manner.
However, the bracelet is not free, and they will make you pay for it. To add to the scam, two gangster-type people will appear and show you a card stating that each bracelet costs £100.
They will threaten to involve the local police, who won't help. To avoid this scam, avoid people trying to put anything on your wrist, and keep your distance.
Hotel Check-in Scam
Scammers may also try to take advantage of you when you're checking into a hotel. A person may come aggressively towards you and pick a fight, while someone else steals your bags from the counter.
The hotel and police may refuse to help you, and there may be no CCTV cameras to capture the theft.
To avoid this scam, keep an eye on your bags and try to remain calm in such situations.
English Student Scam
The English student scam involves a young teenager approaching you in a market and asking if you speak English.
They will then ask to test their English skills with you for a few minutes, take you to a café and after a short conversation, leave. A few minutes later, the bill arrives, and it's usually around £2000.
To avoid this scam, don't engage with strangers and don't follow them to secluded areas.
Tips To Stay Safe From These Scams
The first and most crucial step to protect yourself from falling into such scams during travel is to exit the situation immediately.
Scammers often try to create distractions or use aggressive tactics to confuse you and take advantage of you.
Be cautious of anyone who approaches you and tries to engage you in conversation, especially if they are trying to sell you something or asking for your help.
If you feel uncomfortable or unsure of the situation, it's best to trust your instincts and remove yourself from the situation as quickly as possible.
Carrying your passport with you at all times may seem like a logical thing to do, but it can actually put you at risk of theft or loss.
Instead, it's recommended that you carry a photocopy of your passport and leave the original document in a secure place, like a hotel safe.
If you're required to show identification, presenting a copy of your passport is usually sufficient.
Another tip to keep in mind while travelling abroad is to keep cash and credit cards inside socks. This may seem like an unusual place to store your valuables, but it can be an effective way to protect yourself from pick-pocketing and theft.
Thieves often target tourists who keep their wallets and purses in easy-to-reach places, like backpacks or pockets.
It's important to remember that tourist scams can happen anywhere, and it's essential to stay aware and vigilant at all times.