When traveling to a foreign country and specially one with a foreign language, travelers are exposed to all kinds of possible scams. Being aware of them and staying alert is the best way to avoid getting ripped off. Scams are usually classified in into three different categories: overcharging, deceiving and simply outright theft. Whenever possible, do your homework and research your future destination. Try to know in advance how much things like a taxi ride cost, and which things may be subject to scam. Nowadays it is very easy to get this information as there are numerous travel blogs and online communities that can help you with this task.
If you are not able to get this information, then common sense is a good option. Inform your travel companion of your itinerary, try to avoid answering simple questions to strangers and don’t carry big amounts of cash and valuable things with you. Remember you are not required to be polite, instead be a little suspicious of extremely helpful people; it might save you from being robbed.
Too Friendly to Be True?
Friendly locals are one of the most common scam strategies. Based on the idea that you will rely on the scammer’s “local knowledge,” these people will give you advice that is actually deceptive. An example of this scam strategy can be those people that offer to get you a good deal but “under the table” on something that you were not really asking for a discount. Instead of giving you a good deal they sell you a fake item. Usually most of them simply get you to pay more on the item of what you should really pay, so if people are being too helpful, it might just be too friendly to be true.
Too Much for a Good
This scam strategy is very similar to the previous one. With this strategy scammers base on the tourist’s ignorance of local prices and get you to pay over the market rate for goods. A good example for this scam is taxi rides. In many countries taxi rides can be “negotiated” between the taxi driver and the passenger. Just because you look foreign or because they hear you speak another language, taxi drivers may try to overcharge a ride just to see if you pay whatever they say. This is one of those situations in which being well informed about local prices becomes very handy.
Too Pretty to Be True?
In this scam, scammers trap you in a bad situation and force you to pay money to get out of it. Nightlife tours offered by attractive women are an example of such situation. Good looking and well dressed girls approach gentlemen with the excuse of having some drinks. Those who accept may end up at a deserted joint with a bill that runs into thousands and with no way out other than paying the bill. So, if you want to go for some drinks with a pretty girl beware, because she might just be too pretty to be true!