Travelling broadens the mind, but sadly in places where tourists gather, there is a chance for some potential racket.
While local law enforcers are vigilant about this type of crime, it helps to know of shady deals and hustling that could target travellers like you.
Here, we reveal the top scams that Brits fall for abroad – and see how on top of your game you are when you’re enjoying the sights and sounds in a beautiful country abroad.
You’ll be walking around a site of interest or stood in a queue when someone gifts you a flower, a ring or other small trinket. You take it, confused, and are then asked for money. The person causes such a scene, that out of embarrassment you hand over money for the unsolicited present.
What you should do: Ignore anyone who gifts you a random item, or hand back the item immediately and walk on.
Your hotel is miraculously full – according to your taxi driver
You’re picked up from the airport by a taxi driver who tells you your hotel has been closed down or is full up but will take you to an even nicer hotel. This hotel will belong to a friend or family member, the taxi driver gets a cut and you’ll stay ignorant.
What you should do: Ask to be dropped off at the hotel regardless. Your driver will in all probability have no idea about your hotel, so just carry on with plan A. Even if your hotel cannot fulfil your booking on arrival, they will be able to source an alternative arrangement.
You take part in a fun street game
There’s a guy sat on a run playing cups. You watch him for a few minutes and can figure out easily what cup has got the ball underneath it. You go over clutching a few notes guaranteed you can beat him at his own game. He starts moving the cups, and you’re immediately confused. What’s usually happened is that he’s seen you watch him, played an easy to follow method, lured you in and then trapped you. You’ve handed over the money and have no chance of winning it back.
What you should do: Watch but don’t touch! Walk on if you’re invited into these types of street entertainment.
You’re walking through a busy market, or in a café when someone – even a small child – runs into you and causes a commotion. They apologise profusely, dusting you down, shaking your hand, straightening you up, laughing and being respectful and you both go your separate ways. In reality, this is a classic pickpocketing move, and while you’ve been stunned by the collision and are playing down the apology, the other person has fished around for valuable items like jewellery or wallets.
What you should do: Don’t flaunt expensive watches or jewellery; wear a bumbag for other discreet pouch for valuables. If someone crashes into you, even spills a drink on you – keep a distance immediately.
Fake hotel wake up call
Asleep in your hotel room, you’re awaken by a call from the front desk asking you to go through your credit card details as there’s been a problem processing your payment. However, it’s not the front desk, it’s a scammer and your details have been copied to be used fraudulently.
What you should do: Never ever give card details out over the phone. If you get a call from someone purporting to be from reception, tell them you will come down and sort the issue out face-to-face.