One of the biggest concerns most people have when they go on vacation is their safety and security. We recommend that you always buy travel insurance before you go on your next trip. Also, while you're away you should always remain alert and vigilant. Please see our list below of 5 tourist scams you should watch out for when you go on your next trip.
The Expensive Taxi Ride Scam
If you are new to a city, some taxi drivers might try to take advantage of your lack of knowledge about the local area. They may purposely take longer routes, side streets and take routes that are likely to see traffic. Some may even alter their meter, so the fare increase is at a much faster rate than normal. Unfortunately, there isn’t many ways to avoid this scam unless you have a little knowledge of the geography of the city you are visiting. Most taxi drivers are great, but there are some out there that are experts in this scam.
The Photographer Scam
When you’re taking photos (particularly when couples are taking individual photos of each other), a friendly –looking local may come over and offer to take a photo of the two of you together. The best case scenario here is that he will ask for a bit of money for his services. The worst case is he’ll run off with your phone or camera.
Another scam is someone could ask you to take a photo of them and their group of friends. When you go to take the picture the camera doesn't work and when you go to hand it back to them, they will drop it and cause it to smash! The entire group will then demand money for repairs or pickpocket you during the commotion. With both of these examples there isn’t any way of avoiding the scam and you just hope that the people you are speaking to are honest.
Buying Tickets at a ticket office or machine Scam
While you’re queuing for the ticket office or machine, an official looking (but fake) staff member may offer to sell you a ticket. This may be tempting, but these tickets may not work or the ticket may have already expired.
Another example is a nice overly helpful local, who speaks your language, may offer to help you if you look confused at the cash or ticket machine. Whilst it may seem they are being helpful, they might be memorising your pin code for when they pickpocket you later. They sometimes may also run off with your cash. With both of these examples be vigilant and patient and remember you are on holidays so there is no need to rush around the city, so if you have to wait an extra 5 minutes in line its not a problem.
An Amazing Jewelry Deal Scam
This scam is very popular in Thailand, where friendly tuk-tuk drivers receive gas vouchers from jewelry or clothing stores when they bring tourists to these shops.
This scam starts when you get into the tuk-tuk and you tell the driver where you plan to go. He may tell you that he will only charge you half the price or the ride will be free if you agree to make one stop at a jewelery or clothing store first. He tells you that the jewelry or clothing in this store is better quality and cheaper then other stores in the city. When you arrive, you will probably see other tourists at the shop, so this will make you think that this tuk-tuk driver is trustworthy. Another man will probably meet you as you get out of the tuk-tuk and he will tell you how much you can buy the diamonds or gemstones for and the profit you can make by selling them back in your home country. The aim here is to make you think that you can buy something from them and turn a big profit when you return home. In most cases, these shops aren't registered through the Thai government and the diamonds and gemstones aren’t real.
As much as this might be tempting, be smart and don’t buy jewelry and diamonds from these places. If they take you to a suit store, make sure to ask them how many fittings they do. If the answer is 3 or more fittings then I would consider buying a suit from them, but if its less then this then I would probably give it a miss.
Pickpocketing on Trains Scams
Busy trains are one of the most popular settings for pickpockets. People often have to stand in close proximity to each other and it can be very easy for pickpockets to go through your pockets or bag. The best way to avoid getting pickpocketed is to avoid traveling during rush hour or make sure you have all of your valuables under your clothing or zipped up.
For help on booking your next vacation, please contact one of the Travel Specialists at North South Travel today