14 ways you can get scammed during vacation and how to avoid it

Posted by Beach Direction on 20th Jun 2022

14 ways you can get scammed during vacation and how to avoid it

Holidays are a time when our attention is less focused on events in the world around us. As tourists visiting places where you can immediately see that we are not locals, we are exposed to fraud. What are the most popular vacation scams we may come across? Here are ways to cheat tourists from all over Europe and beyond. What to watch out for while on vacation?

1. Raising funds for the needy

The volunteer accosts passing tourists and asks for support for the petition, usually for a very good cause. Apparently, it is only about the signature, but after a while it turns out that the group wants to extort money. Alternatively, the aim of the game is to distract a tourist who, while talking, ceases to pay attention to his belongings and pockets. Talking to "volunteers" may end up losing your wallet or other things hidden in your pockets. We encountered this phenomenon in Florence and Pisa.

How To Avoid: Ignore!

2. Taxis at stations and airports

The most popular way to cheat tourists, regardless of whether we are in Krakow, Paris, Rome or Barcelona. Taking a taxi from the street in front of the train station or near the airport is asking for the highest possible fare. The taxi driver knows that he usually deals with people who do not know the topography of the city and the local prices and can charge either a price that is disproportionate to the route traveled or ... a trip along all circular roads. 

How to avoid: Apps such as Uber are the solution for taxi drivers

3. Fraud in the exchange office

Fraud in exchange offices is also an extremely popular way of extracting money from tourists. Unfair exchange offices are very easy to find in places not associated with luxurious and expensive holidays, such as Bulgaria or Turkey, and even in more interesting places. Fraud in exchange offices is a real plague, for example in Prague. On the board in front of the exchange office, additional zeros are written in tiny fonts, reducing the favorable course from a distance, which attracts the eye. The second possibility is simply that the cashier who issues the money will "make a mistake" to our disadvantage. Often, even local authorities know about the problem. The second way to cheat when exchanging money is to exchange currencies at the guys hanging around legal exchange offices, stations or airports. Often this type of exchange is completely illegal, and always simply unprofitable.

How to avoid: change money in a bank, exchange office away from tourist attractions, pay by card.

4. Pictures spread out on the street

The rule is simple. A group of scammers prints kitschy photos of tourist attractions and landmarks and spreads poor-quality prints on a street frequented by tourists. The trick works best where most visitors look up - near cathedrals, chapels, churches or other tall monuments. The principle of operation is simple - the tourist focused on admiring the soaring architecture is to unconsciously trample the printout. Then the "sellers" go into action and accuse of destroying the "work". The tourist has to pay. This practice was popular especially in Florence. Local authorities and locals took notice of the scam after a video by popular traveler Harald Baldr posted on YouTube.

How to avoid: avoid the rubbish on the sidewalk or just not react and go away.

5. Free bracelets and ribbons

A scam popular as the whole of Europe, long and wide. It takes various, more or less aggressive forms. The scam involves stopping passing tourists and tying ribbons, bracelets or ribbons on their hands. Sometimes it is a ribbon of friendship, sometimes the flag of the country we are in, sometimes flowers or herbs. A supposedly free "gift" turns out to be a paid gift very quickly. When we want to return the rubbish tied around the dealer, colleagues forcing money quickly appear around the dealer. A way to earn money practiced around the biggest tourist attractions, for example in France or Italy, mainly by blacks and Gypsies. Dark-skinned people usually talk to lonely tourists. Aggressive men quickly appear around us. Many tourists pay out of fear. This is how they wanted to stretch us in: Milan and Florence. In other tourist cities, for example in Lviv, we usually get an armband in the colors of the flag. In the east, it is easier to give up pity on God's gift without consequences.

How to avoid: do not extend your hand, do not stop, do not talk.

6. Common photography

The offer to take a photo with the monument in the background is a scam with two possible endings. When a stranger approaches you with an offer to take a photo, never give him an SLR or a telephone. A helpful photographer has one goal - to quickly move away with your camera or cell in a direction known only to him. Another way to extort money for photographs are groups handing tourists gadgets and forcing them to pose against the background of a previously set up scenery. We saw it, for example, in the Market Square in Lviv, where Ukrainians set aside with rural scenery every year. After taking photos, they extort money. Similarly in Rome - here are Spartans who want up to EUR 100 for photos.

How to avoid: like everything else - ignore.

7. False damage to a rented vehicle

We come to the destination of the desired vacation and rent a car. Regardless of whether it is a large bus, a small city car or a high-power sports car. Regardless of whether it is a large rental company or a small local business. When renting a car, we have to be careful about everything. It is best to make the appropriate documentation of the car, which shows all scratches, dents, cracks or damage to the vehicle that arose before we rented it. Even taking a photo-video documentation may not protect us from the consequences. We felt the deception on our own skin. When returning the car to the rental company, the staff immediately looked ... under the chassis and found dents there. Gentlemen knew where to look, because no one looks under the car before renting. We were so deceived in car rentals in Bari, but scams are quite common practice used even by big players in the car rental market, as well as in quad and jet ski rentals in tourist towns.

How to avoid: photograph the car from all sides or get cheated on insurance, which magically makes the staff stop cheating.

8. Flirting with an alluring local girl

Not only single women can fall victim to scammers, men too. What is the easiest way to trick a guy? For female charms. The scam has variations - an attractive local girl or a lost tourist approaches the guy. After a short conversation, he invites you to the bar for a drink. After ordering alcoholic beverages, everything is cool until it comes to paying the bill. The price of innocent drinks turns out to be much higher, and the staff of the restaurant clearly signals that refusals are not welcome. Half the trouble when you run into a girl who pulls on expensive drinks. Some tourists visiting some clubs in Poland ended up GHB with a drink and a cleared credit card.

How to avoid: if you want to experience an adventure with a local girl, talk to her yourself.

9. No prices on the menu, fraud on the menu

While it is a good, although rarely practiced, custom to give a woman a menu card without prices, serving two cards without prices is completely a fraud. If you got a menu without prices in a restaurant, you can expect cheating. There is another method of cheating known practically all over the world. Menus for tourists and menus for locals. This is the first with prices several times higher than the real ones. You can also come across other scams in the restaurant menu, such as quoting the price per item, which later turns out to be a price per 100 grams. When traveling, you should also be careful when ordering simply "water", "beer" or "wine". In dishonest premises, the waiter, after hearing the slogan itself, will announce the most expensive possible item from the offer. This way you can end up with mineral water for 50 Euro. We met the scam in the form of the lack of prices on the menu in Rome. A menu with different prices for locals and different tourists was waiting for us in Cyprus.

How to avoid: choose restaurants with a completed menu

10. Self-Charged Tips

Another in the series of restaurant and money scams, similar to the one that can be found in small shops or at vendors at stalls. Of course, tips should be left if the restaurant met the expectations or was unexpectedly good, and the service gave something more than its responsibility. Not every waiter or waitress deserves a high tip, not everyone deserves any. Unfortunately, on trips, it happens that waiters add additional remuneration themselves.

How to avoid: pay by card, check your change

11. A game of three cards

It is an inconceivable fact that in 2020 someone else is caught playing three cards. There are two varieties of the popular way of cheating tourists using either playing cards or cups with a ball or coin inside. The rules of the game are simple - the player's task is to correctly indicate in which cup the coin is in. You can win money for the correct answer. You can if the players are honest. In practice, the correct indication is impossible because it does not exist. It is impossible to win the game with cheaters. The history of the scam goes back to the 15th century and there is no indication that a generation will appear on Earth in which there will be no idiots catching this type of play. The scam is used everywhere - from Gdansk to Jaffe.

How To Avoid: Don't play with scamers

12. Buying D.r.u.g.s

On vacation, we often want to relax, sometimes using legal d.r.u.g.s and sometimes less legal d.r.u.g.s. In various places around the world, there are often helpful sellers offering various products. What is the risk of buying from an unknown source? There are two possibilities. After a successful purchase and sale transaction, fake policemen may appear on the spot in the blink of an eye, who will force you to pay tribute for the purchase in exchange for not "prosecuting". Another variation on the cheat is to sell marjoram or basil as smoking dry or as a painkiller in place of other d.r.u.g.s. We will not go to the police and say that they sold us fake d.r.u.g.s ... We met these types of schemers in Porto and Lisbon, where there is quite a liberal approach to d.r.u.g.s. Drought sellers are also easy to come across in Africa.

How to avoid: do not do that at all

13. False policemen

A method quite similar to the previous one, also involving the use of disguises. You do not need to buy and sell drugs with unclear legality. A group of disguised people stops the tourist and, after checking the documents, is screwed in by the lack of necessary documents to stay in a given country or any other imaginary offense. After presenting the problem, a group of scammers try to extort money.

How to avoid: find out what the real police officers look like in a given country.

14. Lost ring scam

A scam popular in France is that locals run up to a walking tourist saying that they have found a ring, wedding ring, pendant or any other similar item that has been lost by the tourist. When a tourist gets into a conversation with a trickster and explains that he has not lost any valuables, he is informed that he can keep a (fake) trinket. There is one but - he has to pay, and if he does not want to, friends of the scam quickly appear in the area.

How to avoid: Do not talk to extremely friendly locals.

We wish you an epic vacation 2022!

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