10 Common Travel Scams And How You Can Dodge Them

Travelling is a one-of-a-kind activity that connects you with amazing people from other parts of the world, who are different because they belong to an entirely different culture. They are friendly and polite and will do their very best to help you make YOUR experience in their country more memorable and extraordinary. However, sometimes you run into people who are not your 'friendly neighbourhood local'. They will try to help you, but they end up ripping you off for money. Although undesirable, travel scams are common all across the globe. No one would want such things to happen with them on their excursions but as the good old (cliche) saying goes: "prevention is better than the cure".

Here's a guide on some of the common travel scams and how you can avoid them:

1. Overpriced Goods Scam

Overpriced Goods Scam
Source
One of the most common travel scams is when street vendors sell you goods way higher than its actual cost, or worse, the product turns out to be a fake. They do this with every buyer, but you, being a foreigner, are vulnerable as you are unaware of the actual price and authenticity of the products.

How to avoid this:
  • Street markets in every part of the world will charge you 10x the actual price. This is where you need to be smart. Do your homework. For starters, read online blogs related to the products you want to purchase and the markets you will be visiting. Next up, ask your friends who might have visited the market before.
  • Trip Advisor is another great tool to help you avoid this scam. Simply ask a question in a specific place's forum, and I'm sure there will be tons of users wanting to share their own knowledge and opinions.
  • Bring your A-game in bargaining. Bargain to your best ability to lower down the asking price and get the best deal despite.

2. Taxi Scams

Taxi Scam
Source
Another common travel scam that you might have come across is when a taxi or a tuk-tuk driver deliberately takes a longer route to your destination to obtain a higher fare. Alternatively, taxi drivers refuse to follow the meter and charge a fixed price for the ride. They say they are charging the bare minimum, but that is (usually) never true.

How to avoid this:
  • We live in a digital world where you can check the best route to your destination on Google Maps and guide your driver instead of him taking the decisions for you.
  • Or you can find your way around by asking the locals on the road or simply call up a person you know who can guide your driver to the desired destination.
  • Always ride by the meter and not at a fixed prepaid charge as the fixed charge is always double or triple the normal price. This is quite a common ordeal in India.

3. Currency Exchange Scam

Currency Exchange Scam
Source
Exchanging currency is the most important step you take after arriving at your destination. Considering this, there will always be people approaching you and saying they can provide the best exchange rate in the town. Just stop that person right there and reject his/her offer because it can (and most definitely be) a scam. You will end up paying more than the usual rates, or in most cases, the bills will be counterfeit.

How to avoid this: 
  • Exchange currency before taking your trip.
  • Visit only trusted currency exchange counters (airports, banks, Western Union, etc.).
  • You can also get a travel credit/ debit card issued from your bank if you want to avoid going to a currency exchange place altogether.

4. Child Beggar Scam

Child Beggar Scam
Source
You must have noticed a child beggar or an old lady with a baby approaching you and asking for your money at a traffic signal or nearby tourist attractions. Although hard to distinguish between authentic and fake, these people usually act to gain sympathy and eventually your money. This has turned into a professional business these days. Because who wouldn't want to help an innocent frail kid?

How to avoid this:
  • You could simply ignore them.
  • Instead of giving them money, you can buy them food or give away your old clothes and avoid an unpleasant travel scam episode.

5. Pickpockets/ Local Thieves

Pickpockets/ Local Thieves
Source
A random person bumps into you, apologises and walks away. It's all good until you realise that your wallet or phone is missing from your pocket and that person who bumped into you, quite evidently, is the culprit. This usually happens in crowded places such as metro trains, bus stops and crowded tourist spots.

How to avoid this:
  • Refrain from going to crowded places. 
  • Choose nonprime times to board metro trains.
  • Stay alert at all times and keep a check on your valuables.
  • Keep your wallets and phone in a more secure place on you rather than in your pockets and strap your backpack on you nice and tight to avoid bag snatchers. 

6. ATM Scams

ATM Scams
Source
Your cash might get jammed, resulting in a need to share personal details, etc. It may look like an ATM glitch, but it turns out to be a scam. In alternative cases, there are fraudulent people at the ATM willing to offer help. Unless they are genuine bank officials, reject their support because such people assist you in using the ATM and slyly copy your credit card details. Next thing you know, all your money has been flushed out of your account.

How to avoid this:

Only use ATMs of reputed banks. Research prior as you might not know which ones they are in case you are in a foreign country.

7. Too Friendly To Be True

Too Friendly To Be True
Source
Often you meet an extremely friendly local or guide who offers to help you tour the city translates languages for you, and assists you in exchange for nothing. Eventually, he asks you to come to a shop with him to look at some art pieces or jewellery. Obligated as you are, you take the offer but to only look around the shop, but you end up buying expensive stuff (which the salesman would say is the best deal) under pressure. While you take home the overpriced goods, the local friend of yours takes home a big fat commission from this unexpected travel scam. 

How to avoid this:

However influencing the local/guide turns out to be, you need to say no to him bluntly.

8. Charity Scam

Charity Scam
Source
A charity scam is when people approach you at tourist sights or on the streets and ask for some money for a good cause. You might think you are helping a cause by signing the petition, but that is not the case. People generally loot money out of tourists by creating fake NGO names, fake causes and fake petition forms. This is one such common travel scam you should watch out for! 

How to avoid this:
  • Never sign anything unless you know it is genuine.
  • If you are genuinely looking to support a cause, do thorough research about it and then proceed to pay money to them.

9. Free Products/ Service Scam

Free Product/ Service Scam
Source
If, a person/ company, offers you a product or service at no cost, it could be a scam. Why would someone provide a free service (if it's not a promotional campaign by a brand)? They might rope you in saying the product/ service is free and then charge you a hefty fee on some other grounds.

How to avoid this:
  • Make sure you do not indulge in such activities; however, much tempting the "free" word sounds.
  • If you do participate, give a thorough reading to the terms and conditions of the product you are getting or service you are availing. 

10. Roadside Games Scam

You might come across people inviting you to play a quick card, dice or a "which cup is it in?" game. You might think you'll ace the game but trust me; you will end up losing all your money in this travel scam as it's all part of a biased game.

How to avoid this:
  • Do not play the game as it is rigged from the beginning.
  • The players who win it are not real winners but mere actors involved to make normal people participate in the game.
So these were the ten common travel scams you can avoid not to get duped on your next trip! Happy travelling.

This post was published by Yash Saboo

Share this post on social media
Google +

Related Articles

Hill Stations

Darjeeling, The Queen of Hills is Set To Resume Tourism Activities from Today

Adventure

A Step By Step Guide to Plan A Caravan Trip in India Like Shahrukh Khan In The Movie Swades

Religious

Boating Resumes On The Ganga in Varanasi, Much to The Relief of Boatmen

Beaches & Islands

How to Plan a Safe Trip? Here are 6 Guidelines for a Safecation

Travel Tips

Under Air India's New Policy, All Flight Tickets Valid Till December, 2021 - Get Details Here

Backpacking

Plan a Safe & Off-Beat Travel Across Karnataka In India's First Luxury Camper Vans

Road Trips

What Does Kerala's New Guidelines For Travel Mean For People From Other States?

Experiences

13 Wildlife Spots Reopened in 4 States This Week! Check Them Out Here

Travel Tips

Gangtok to Nathula Pass | Permit, Cost, Tips, Things to Do

Travel Tips

Mumbai Local Trains Started Yesterday! Read The Guidelines For Safe Travel Here

Beaches & Islands

From Travel Bubbles to SmartPhone Trackers, 8 Countries that are Easing International Travel in Aisa and How

Experiences

Government SOP Details Safety Guidelines for Hotels and Guests

Experiences

6 Types of Travel That Are Not Only Fun But Also Safe

Adventure

Bali To Reopen in October! Two Beaches Already Opened For Foreign Tourists

Stay

#GoingSaferPlaces with Evolve Back

Travel Tips

Travel Updates from Unlock 1 : Everything You Need to Know

Adventure

Enjoy Switzerland Like Never Before With Rasta The White Shepherd & His Human In Quarantine

Travel Tips

Cyclone Amphan Left Devastation Behind in West Bengal & Odisha - These Pictures Are Proof

Travel Tips

Bhutan Ready to Welcome Tourists With The Policy 'High Value, Low Volume' - Read More Here

Travel Tips

Flight Travel Updates in India - Last Updated on May 27th, 4:20 PM

Travel Tips

Train Travel Updates: Latest Update on 22nd May, 2020

Travel Tips

MHA Published New Guidelines To Be Followed While Travelling Via Special Trains

Travel Tips

200+ Indians Stuck in Turkey Plea For Help To Come Home - Read Some of Their Stories Here

Experiences

Delhi Metro To Restart With A New Set of Rules from June 1st - Read More Here

Family Holidays

Places To Visit in December in India

Road Trips

Pilgrimage To Kailash- Mansarovar Made Easier, With The Advent Of A New Road

Travel Tips

15 Passenger Trains From Delhi to Resume Operation from May 12; Get Details Here

Adventure

This Man Decided to Quarantine in Disney Park, Florida & It Didn't Go According to Plan

Experiences

A Peek Into The 7 Changes At The Delhi International Airport, Post-Lockdown

Experiences

13 Virtual Train Rides Around The World To Enjoy From Your Couch

Stay

Meet The Duo Who Had Been Out In The Ocean For 2 Years, Unaware Of The Pandemic

Comments on this post